Howe Street Arts, 2 Howe Street, Edinburgh
July 25 – August 13
Open daily, 10am – 7pm
After a very successful exhibition last year on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Alice Boyle is back this summer with a showcase of sassy, scintillating new work at Howe Street Arts Gallery.
The title “Think Less, Feel More” is taken from a 5 star review by Waldemar Januszcak of the Abstract Expressionism exhibition last year at the Royal Academy, in which he concluded: “.. art that set out to paint the way we feel through evocation and sensation. There’s not enough emotion in our art any more. We think too much and feel too little”.
Inspired herself by the Royal Academy retrospective of Rothko, Pollock, Gorky, de Kooning, et al, Alice has taken a new route in the mode and manner of her own expressionistic paintings.
Moving away from vibrant colours to a simplified palette, this exciting new collection exudes even more of a sense of free flowing energy and spontaneity such as in “Dancing in Waves” depicting the deep surging, surfing flow of water.
There are also quietly subdued images such as “Are We Nearly Home Yet,” a delicately composed, cool, icy-white, isolated landscape, real or imaginary, with a warming streak of bright orange. Quirky titles reflect the human spirit and changing complexities of contemporary life, such as “Keep Connecting”, “It will Get Easier”, “Choices.” In similar vein is “Decisions, Decisions”, a mass of swirling circles like a cloud of confusing thoughts, the feeling when one is unable to make up one’s mind.
In a more celebratory mood, “Feel the Bright” is a vibrant display of what could be fireworks, with sparkling bursts of light and fire, in which you can almost hear the sound of snap, crackle, pop. “Shine like a Bright Diamond” captures the sharp-edged, multi-faceted features of the gemstone with against a vivid, abstract flurry of colour and dribbles of white dots like a precious pearl necklace.
Alice Boyle originally studied Interior Architecture and there are subtle influences here of monochrome, diagrammatic building blocks, blended with the Bridget Riley or Missoni approach to stylistic, structured pattern. She uses acrylic paint with plaster to create richly textured layers on hardboard. This is clearly evident in a humorous painting, “Let’s believe in Magic”, where thick brushstrokes create a golden yellow brick road ….perhaps leading us merrily along, off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Around the gallery, spot Boyle’s artistic trademark of crescent moons, sparkling stars, swirling circles and oval eggs, which all reflect her own interest in the power of mythology as a way to understand the human condition and our place in the universe.
“Come Lie with Me” is a whimsical, childlike image of two round button figures, yet with an evocative sexual subtext of romantic love. A most distinctive work is the visually imaginative, “Tree of Chaos” akin to a surreal Miro-esque environment, a symbol of growth and the natural world.
“Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.” Dorothy Parker.
Boyle’s distinctively original work is both wildly expressive yet also composed with an astutely detailed vision: expect to be challenged, emotionally touched and frequently amused.
As the title of the exhibition suggests, we should observe this enigmatic work without too much thought and analysis – just go with the flow, simply letting the eye follow curving lines and dancing shapes without trying to find hidden depth and an absolute meaning.
Alice has let her dreams and imagination run riot and fly sky high – the viewer can only be exhilarated by these bold and boisterous paintings. Choreographed like a dance, you will feel a sense of spirited movement, rhythm and energy, representing a passionate love of life, joy and renewed hope in the world around us.