Mahali O'Hare:

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26 April – 27 May 2023

Opening: 26 April, 5 – 8pm

Bosse & Baum is pleased to present Songbirds, Mahali O’Hare’s first solo exhibition of recent paintings and works on paper, in London.  In the first instance the works represent a compelling hybridity: the classical, the sculptural, the figurative, the abstract. The exhibition brings together the artist’s interest in reimagining the English pastoral to reflect on mortality, reverie and loss.

Against a dark void-like background solitary vases are painted with landscapes, as if a garden these vessels are sown with an emotional state. O’Hare’s vase paintings, titled Belly of the Valley, 2023 and For a Moment I Lost Myself, 2022, are decorated with personalised vision of fields, woods and hedgerows, the potential metaphors of the inner self.. The artist looks for fragility and interiority where the figure and landscape can be seen as being embedded in each other, sometimes entangled and overgrown. The figurative nature of the vases engulfed by the natural world are presence and absence and oscillate between still life, portrait and landscape.

On view alongside the paintings, are a series of works on paper, former catalogue pages collaged and re-worked by the artist in oil pastel. O’Hare transforms depictions of English landscapes by overlaying them to the point of abstraction, as though reclaimed by nature. In a Shoreham Garden, 2022 sees O’Hare overpainting a reproduction of a watercolour of a walled garden by Samuel Palmer, with a dissolving linear red portrait, an image then replicated and abstracted in the painting Garden, 2022. In other works, such as Coming from the Evening Church, 2022 the artist covers a black and white reproduction of a 1830 work by Samuel Palmer showing a moonlit procession of figures, in its near entirety. With her continuous process of erasing and adding information, O’Hare considers planes of perceptions, in the eyes of her own mind and others’.

More recently these drawings have been used as a starting point for paintings such as  Sleepwalker, 2023. Seeing the black and white reproductions as a container of  the past they in turn have become a garden to rewild, uniting through the picture plane the places in the artist’s mind and the places that exist in the mind of another artist. Painted with expressive brushworks and profound colours, the stylistic freedom that O’Hare reimagines the traditional genre of landscape painting with, alludes to her interest in the dichotomies of our inner workings and external surroundings, as well as painting’s transcendental potencies.

A printed exhibition text by Lizzie Lloyd will be available in the gallery.

About the Artist

Mahali O’Hare (UK, b.1968) lives and works in Bristol, her studio is at Spike Island. She completed her BA at the University of the West of England in 1993. O’Hare has exhibited at Kingsgate Project Space, London (2022); Hastings Contemporary, Hastings (2022); Touchstones Rochdale, Rochdale (2022); Millennium Gallery, Sheffield (2022); The Plough Arts Centre, Torrington (2021); Exeter Phoenix, Exeter (2019); Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury (2009); Spike Island, Bristol (2007).


Exhibition Text

Download the exhibition text by Lizzie Llloyd