Back to Back : Nettle Grellier and Rafaela de Ascanio

7 - 31 January 2021

Back to Back brings together the work of painter, Nettle Grellier, and painter/sculptor Rafaela de Ascanio. The exhibition communicates the narrative of female experience through two distinctive bodies of work produced by each artist.

For Nettle Grellier, the female experience is centred upon themes of isolation which she explores through the solitary female figure. In many ways her paintings, which explore notions of intimacy, are focused on self-exploration. Her imaginary figures are humorously grotesque- an antidote to the male gaze. Rafaela de Ascanio, on the other hand, portrays the female in defiant guises, empowering both herself and the viewer, and will often present in the form of a Goddess. Both bodies of work serve to disrupt the patriachal narratives propogated throughout art history, using the female protagonist.

The role of nature plays an equally important part in both bodies of work to create a known world. de Ascanio draws on her experiences of growing up in the volcanic Canary Islands, drawing on the amalgamations of cultures and arid landscapes which she paints in a tropical colour palette. Grellier uses a similar luminescent colour palette inspired by her residency in Spain and uses nature to fill the empty spaces in her compositions. A worm takes refuge behind a foot so grounded that seedlings have begun to grow between the toes, and a slug disguises itself as a mountain range. The grotesque upsets the order of things, more aligned to fluidity both bodily and socially – giving way for physical intimacy and openness.

Back to Back is a series of duo exhibitions to take place from January - March 2021, seeking to create unpredictable dialogues between artists.