Solo Show September 5-21, 2019
Forward by Claire Meadows
“The darker the shadow, the brighter the light.”
― Mike Skinner, The Story of The Streets
It’s most appropriate, I think, to perceive Zandra Stratford as a seeker, and also as a finder. She is fearless in her pursuit of a truth beyond the world as you or I would see it. And will not stop until she finds it.
It is also appropriate to think of her as an alchemist…distilling this truth down onto her canvas, magically seeming to capture the essences of both stillness, and a frantic pace of movement in one space.
She occupies a space, in my mind at least, as being one of the most exciting international contemporary artists. Whenever I summon her work to my mind, a smile passes my lips, because I know I’ll never be bored by the fruits of her labours. I’ll always find something to see.
Beyond being beautiful to the eye, Zandra’s works transcend a singular vision to become a universal marker, and distilled essence, of form and reason.
There’s also a humour there and, knowing her as I do, I can see it manifesting itself in just how fun her works are.
I’m a big fan, and hope that this exhibition opens your eyes to her world. It’s a great place to be.
Editor & Founder
View Zine UK
NEON MIGRAINE OVERVIEW
Stratford’s new body of work, Neon Migraine, is a testament to adolescent onset urbanism. For those who grow up outside a small handful of major cities, we were each given our own New York, our own Los Angeles, our own London - a collage of music videos and adverts and film clips, complete with narratives and emotional relationships with landmarks. The pieces are reminiscent of the blur of a speeding tube or subway train you didn’t catch, hurtling past your out-of-the-loop emergence from childhood, accompanied by a chorus of impossibly saturated, newly mass-produced dayglo pigments.
In the worst moments of the Cold War (we were even given our own Berlins to consume) Bowie defied the fallout-shelter-pessimism of the era with Let’s Dance and its embrace of an analog-glitched saxophone nostalgia, post-modernism, and Memphis leopard-prints. Stratford plays with that moment and brings its tensions and lines of inquiry into the present.
Her earlier work was rooted firmly in a sense of space: interstitial zones of human passage, where advertising is stacked and obscured and abraded and revealed, the scuff of traffic and the tactile nature of “where” unpacked and explored in detail. With Migraine, she takes a similar approach to the notion of time – still irrefutably urban, with visible architectural skylines, but rooted in a moment as commercial and playful as a double handful of Swatch watches circa 1986.
To preview the works and to request a catalogue, please contact the gallery directly.
Click the images to embiggen and to see dimensions and descriptions.
NEON MIGRAINE: ARTIST STATEMENT
As a migraine sufferer I’m aware of the connection between migraines and colour perception. There’s a kind of sinister synaesthesia at work, where visual input registers as physical pain.
This inherent aversion to bright colours piqued my curiosity to explore this and see if I could make make peace with it, to create something beautiful and striking.
In my studio I discovered that I personally had the greatest response to these pieces when I turned out the lights, and the colour felt more true to the presentation. The shocking colour in the gloom makes them easier to view, and relates further to the migraine’s demand for darkness.
I’ve taken the opportunity to explore further and more deeply essential themes that I have had percolating. Working with larger scale and exploring space, privacy, visibility, and the shared public sphere. My own place in the world as someone who is recently coming out as a non-white-passing person. The discomfort in this cultural dialogue with colour and representation. The moment in time of my own adolescence, and this creative adolescence which is always antagonistic to previous forms, vernaculars, modes.
Exploring the use of neon pigments in my otherwise-muted palette allows me to explore attention, visibility and discomfort. For me personally the colours still strike me as too bold and garish, overly optimistic and somewhat off-putting. Harmonizing these elements with my ongoing thesis about the discovery of and interaction with public space, to find and amplify beauty there, that’s been the most challenging aspect to all of this.