Beatrice Boyle at St Martins Lane
In 2007 Beatrice Boyle graduated from Central St Martins, since then she has taken the fine art and fashion worlds by storm collaborating her illustrative style with commercial clothing to create striking ready-to-wear garments and impressive canvas works. During October, Boyle will be exhibiting new and recent works at Front Room, St Martins Lane, the space will also be her studio during FRIEZE, where she will be creating works live in the space.
Beatrice Boyle is predominantly known for her stunning large-scale works depicting manipulated portraiture, many of these works seem distressed, sinister and angry whilst retaining an expressive beauty and encapsulating the emotions of her subjects. A graduate of fine art, Boyle’s expressive brush strokes and detailing create striking and hauntingly imperfect pieces that we are able to gaze into carefully navigating our way through the complex layers of emotive triggers.
Much in the same way as her previous works the pieces on show depict portraits of isolation, moments in time captured to form a new context, this however, is where the similarities end. Boyle’s previous works show an in-depth study of concept, humanity and identity, they addressed social themes and created new ways of viewing people.
The recent works, as displayed in the Front Room exhibition are lacking in the same powerful qualities her artworks previously possessed, they appear wholly underwhelming. Front Room, St Martins Lane is a wonderful space. It is crisp, light and full of potential, but the thirteen standard-sized canvases on the walls led to a sense of overcrowding and a lack of real direction or thought.
To create the pieces on show Boyle worked from magazine imagery and isolated facial expressions, mainly smiles in an attempt to address the grotesque nature of the fixed stares and manic grins, unfortunately this is not aptly communicated within the works themselves. The pieces lack any sense of emotive function and they act as they appear, as representation of portraiture. Although impressive in technique the scale and quantity of the works inhibit the viewer from being able to process any real sense of theme or quality within them, instead they feel shallow and thrown together. As fans of Boyle’s previous work, we felt these new paintings lacked a sense of maturity that is usually present. A continuation of her interest in the themes of ‘the image’ as we are subjected to, airbrushed and perfect, the textured and expressive brush strokes seem incomplete in these pieces, as though their compositions were considered but their detail ignored.
Boyle explores the fine line between abstraction and actuality and the pieces do definitely stand stronger from a distance, something not easy to achieve in the space unless alone. However, rather than seeming purposeful and of great concept, the works themselves communicate an underwhelming representation of an artist whose work is, and has been so strong. The juxtaposition between her previous distressed figures and these new grotesquely happy figures seems uncomfortable and unfinished.
Beatrice Boyle is at St Martins Lane now. For further information visit Boyle’s Facebook page here.