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London based artist Christabel Blackburn (born London, 1986) is a painter who conjures atmospheric scenes which focus on the interplay between people and spaces. Using a sensitively reduced visual language, Blackburn distils the modern world and our interaction with it into quiet, concentrated scenes. Her figures are largely locked in their own universe, traversing streets formed of intersecting flat planes or drinking in art in colour drenched galleries.
Her practice exists in a finely tuned space; we believe this world and yet it is removed from our own in its timelessness and absences. Largely gone is the paraphernalia of the twenty first century and what emerges in the space is a sense of order but more importantly psychological suspension. Perhaps these are what our memories or dreams of a sunny day might look like, no sound, rarely any shadows and none of the encumbrances of existing in the world. Women particularly take up space in an interesting way, confidently walking away or engaging with art alone.
Despite her minimalist approach to form, Blackburn handles paint in such a way as to create rhythm and a quiet kind of texture on the surface. By drawing attention to the act of painting, she reveals the artifice of her creations and emphasises their illusory nature.
Blackburn creates a duality between what might be read as calm, ordered and quiet with what can also be seen as a portrait of the alienation and disillusionment of contemporary existence. Plenty of room is left in every painting for the viewer to navigate these two poles of how we engage with the world.
'Whispers of my past' by Christabel Blackburn
'The Collector in Black' by Christabel Blackburn
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