For a night of contemporary art and the ephemera, Maddie Salters headed back to The Lollipop Gallery for the premier of A Myriad of Marks, the solo exhibition by painter Dragica Carlin.
Bubbles and bulk white walls greeted me, as The Lollipop Gallery provided its typical minimalist space to showcase the art. Set across two floors of industrialist space with plank wooden floors and the smell of sawdust, the intimate gallery has the feel of wandering into a painter’s study, rather than an exhibition of work. That personal tone was further set by there being no plaquards asride any of Carlin’s pieces, no Titles or information on mediums, a rare treat that invited guests to use their senses to understand and analyse the abstract works.
Carlin’s paintings, which ranged in size from the mighty and massive, to the tiny and intricate, are deeply romantic. Each piece has the sensation of presenting a moment: a single step in a dance, a glance, a pulse. Her use of wide brush strokes evoke sensations of space, while a playful use of curvature and light almost render forms and figures across her chaotic canvasses. Single colours tend to take the centre stage in her pieces, which are unframed and raw, paint seeping into the sides of the borders, sometimes artfully, sometimes as an afterthought. Wavering hues and gradient colour give the works impact, a struggle between light and dark that creates a three-dimensional space in her abstractions.
Wandering both floors, taking everything in, I was especially impressed by two pieces. On the basement floor, a selection of stunted canvasses (the only ones framed, and set deep into a double frame to further minimise their size and to pull them into the backdrop,) presented a turmoil of lines and discordant colours. The turmoil is parted by a cloudy painting that seems a moment of peace in the storm, and then the melancholic blues are overtaken by a powerful burst of orange and turquoise. The motion of these works is beautifully contrasted by a large canvass on the first floor, where burnt rose suggests a bouquet, leisure, sunlight, and slow-motion.
Indeed, her work evokes much of what we encounter in daily life. Smoke coming off the grates on a city street, sunlight over a cityscape, masses of people squeezed together as they walk to work, creating heat. She creates an exceptional balance in the haywire strokes of paint, which would otherwise seem hectic and claustrophobic. Carlin’s love of poetry comes across clearly, in that she hopes to connect with a viewer while also letting them see what they’d like to see.
Carlin, who says she is inspired by urban spaces and the question of existence, uses “visual language” to explore these settings and concepts in beautiful ways. The physical and the metaphysical are brought together in a throughly modern way.
A Myriad of Marks runs until April 26 at The Lollipop Gallery, 58 Commercial Street, E1 6LT. The show is free to view. Learn more at lollipopgallery.com.