| [GALLERIES] L21 Gallery, BARCELONA
2023. 4. 15 – 6. 23
According to Oxford Languages, communication is “the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium”. We, adults, tend to use speaking and writing above all to connect with each other. Small kids usually use “other medium”: they play or use body language to get to know each other. Animals do that too. Hopefully, art has always been there to build bridges using many means of expression.
For Belgian artist Stevie Dix, who paints objects and symbols that are intimate but often universally powerful, painting is above all the way she communicates and finds connection with her peers. Her influences come from surrealism, animation, and expressionism, and she has found her own personal language to express what goes on inside her head and heart. Themes such as solitude, escapism or mental health are transformed in thick layers of oil paint and wax. This technique allows the paintings to achieve some movement while conveying intensity.
In this solo show, Dix exhibits small format works that act as an introspective visual diary. Some, like “Hyperlapse”, are subtly figurative, giving much space to the imagination and taking inspiration on door handles from Modernist houses or window grids found in cities like Paris or Brussels. These works have an obscure, almost gothic feel, and hint at the boundary between what we perceive as a safe space, like our home, and what we can view as unwelcoming, such as the outside.
French writer George Perec wrote in 1974: “I would like there to exist places that are stable, unmoving, intangible, untouched and almost untouchable, unchanging, deeprooted. (…) Such places don’t exist, and it’s because they don’t exist that space becomes a question, ceases to be self-evident, ceases to be incorporated, ceases to be appropriated. Space is a doubt: I have constantly to mark it, to designate it. It’s never mine, never given to me, I have to conquer it”.
The paintings of Stevie Dix have a way of conquering intimate spaces, mostly emotional, through the depictions of entrances or exits, marking the border as a place to explore. The work “a mental space” represents a window with a floating curtain, also pushes the viewer to imagine what is on both sides of that portal, which can function as a springboard to another world but also as a barrier.
Other recurrent symbols that Dix depicts are flowers, that convey a mix of beauty and melancholy, or a neutral figure who often appears with eyes closed and takes part in this journey of self-discovery to narrate an open story. A journey that viewers can also undertake by observing which elements in these paintings resonate more with them.
 PEREC, Georges. “Species of Spaces and other Pieces” (1974). 1997. Penguin Classics. P. 91.
L21 Gallery BARCELONA
C. Salvador 24, 2º
08902 L’Hospitalet de Llobregat