“It’s easy to lose sight of the rainbow when all the focus is on the rain,” says Eelus, a popular stencil artist who’ll be showcasing a new body of work at London’s Lawrence Alkin Gallery from tomorrow, until 28 October.
Seeking to evoke familiar discomfort within all of us, Dance Boldly Through The Storm explores the beautiful and often caustic realities of the world. Eelus mixes humour with the macabre, light with dark and bright bursts of colour against grey skies. The regular juxtapositioning in his work highlights the paradox of day-to-day life and carries subtle political and social messages.
He explains: “There is so much tension and anxiety in the world right now. I’ve gotten into this awful habit of checking the news app on my phone almost as soon as I wake up with the fear and expectation that somewhere, something awful has happened; and more often than not, it has.
“We’re force-fed doom 24 hours a day, a constant shit-storm of it, and it can make us forget how staggeringly beautiful this place is, and how much potential we have. This body of work is born of my anxieties whilst reminding me to try and stay optimistic.”
While sticking to his favoured monochromatic palette ignited with pops of vivid colour, Eelus expands his methodology in this latest body of work. The show will feature spray paint on canvas, multi-layered wood and paper and his first-ever 3D sculptural pieces.
Dance Boldly Through the Storm will feature a set of bonded bronze skulls that have been cast from a mould made from a real 12-month-old human skull. The craniums are filled with tangled balls of beautifully dyed Peruvian wool, each strand dipped in clear resin before being shaped and sculpted and knotted into a complex scrambled mess of colour.
Eelus comments on the process and the meaning behind these pieces: “I have about 30 minutes to tease and shape the mess before the wool starts to set solid. Like with all my work I’m really drawn to the contrasting elements at work. The cold, dull, heavy solidity of the bonded bronze against the light, soft, brightly coloured wool.
“The pieces represent the confusion and anxieties of kids today. Their brains developing in a world of smart phones, games consoles and internet trolling. Studies have shown there’s a noted decrease in emotional development and a rise in ADD – a direct result of screen time over quality human interaction. Children’s minds, so full of colour and potential, are at risk of becoming twisted and tangled.”
Dance Boldly Through The Storm runs from Thursday 12 – Saturday 28 October at Lawrence Alkin Gallery, 42 New Compton Street London WC2H 8DA. More info at www.lawrencealkingallery.com.
All images courtesy of Lawrence Alkin & Eelus