Cut Two Pieces in Three

Lesley Bunch

29 June – 17 July 2022

Artist’s Talk: Saturday 16 July, 2pm.

Lesley Bunch presents a new and unique body of work which brings together two interrelated series, ‘Shadow Sculpture’ and ‘Shadow Language’. Bunch uses painting and photography to transform shadows, fleeting, unstable and lacking continuity of existence, into images that appear both fixed and sculpted.

Cut Two Pieces in Three, draws on the art and culture of Japan, the artist having lived in Tokyo and studied Japanese archaeology. The title is derived from a Japanese koan, a riddle from Zen Buddhist practice which is posited to transcend limitations of dualistic thinking, logical reasoning and language.

Lesley Bunch will be exhibiting paintings and photographs from her Shadow Sculpture and Shadow Language series, in which she unanchors the confines of language; presence is celebrated, despite the subject, upon meditation, circling with absence.

Shadow Language Series: Photographs

For her Shadow Language Series Bunch borrows “casting objects” that are invested with their lenders’ emotions, memories, and sense of identity.  She interviews each lender about their attachment to their object, and then creates a shadow with it. Although the shadow’s composition is influenced by her interpretation of lenders’ stories, ultimately the shadow becomes a detached, autonomous entity, no longer anchored to, or a stand-in for, its casting object.

Taken separately, each shadow becomes a manifestation of, or “remains” of, her exchange with the lender.  Placed together, and presented in the guise of logographs, these “remains” take on the form of language.

Bunch’s Shadow Language is dependent on context, designed to absorb a multiplicity of meanings, coexisting in harmony.

My intention is to reflect a plurality of experience, with an “effacement of the agent”. The focus here is not on something signified by language, but on the infinite meaning- generating potentiality of language through its focusing on itself and ever renewing itself.

Shadow Sculpture Series: Photographs and Paintings

In photographs of this series, Bunch’s shadows take on the form of sculpted objects, and are placed in spaces wherever she travels; locations as diverse as street scenes, archaeological ruins, ossuaries, and tourist attractions. She often presents them as a simple still-life.

Bunch refers to her still-life photos when she starts a painting.  She builds her paint in many fine, flat, transparent layers, “sculpting” with colour. She is interested in the moment where the painting takes on a life of its own and seems to guide her hand; when the colour-sculpted presence takes on an expression of “suchness”, and becomes an intricately detailed, solid form.

Ultimately Bunch’s photographs and paintings are a visual language resisting verbal interpretation, untied to literal meaning, an “absented presence”. They sit silently in the globalised, unanchored, over-information that we increasingly drift in.

About the Artist

Lesley Bunch is a painter and photographer who lives and works in London. Her work has been exhibited widely in the UK, Europe, Asia, South America, and the US.

Bunch studied Fine Art & Art History at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London. This was followed by an MA in Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where she focused on Japanese art of the Edo Period. She recently completed a year’s residency at Wimbledon College of Arts, University of the Arts London.

Recent exhibitions featuring her Shadow series include a solo show, Absence : Presence in the Arte Borgo Gallery in Rome, a solo show Shadow Language at the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art in Seoul, Ten Artists to Watch at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, and the travelling Visual Representations of Multilingualism exhibition organised by the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) in partnership with CuratorSpace, Multilingual Matters, and the AILA Research Network for Creative Inquiry and Applied Linguistics.

Her work is held in private collections in England, Italy, the U.S., Germany, The Netherlands, and South Korea.

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