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I See You, Do You See Me?

Abigail McGinley

LKIF Gallery is pleased to announce  a solo exhibition of works by London-based artist Abigail McGinley. This is her first show with the gallery and her first in Asia.

Trotters independent, Oil on canvas, 60x120cm, 2024

Painted in a raw and unaffected style, McGinley’s paintings accomplish surreal tone ringing through decontextualized juxtaposition of allegorical figures. Her subject matters act metaphorically in an ambiguous settings. The underlying narratives guide the audience to revisit the displeasure we tend to dodge and loneliness pervasive in our lives. In a new body of work, the artist uses animals as symbolic vessels for emotions and weave allegorical narratives between the compositions of the tonal paintings as they embody the paradoxical dualities of anthropomorphism and commodification.

Sow in stockings, Oil on canvas, 45x45cm, 2023

“Sow in stockings” portrays the hindquarters of a pig in subtle green hues. The mud adorning its lower limbs takes on a new contextual meaning as stockings, as suggested by the title, transforming the farm creature into a symbol of fertile and captivating femininity.

In another work depicting a pig, “Trotters Independent,” the artist illustrate an absurd scenario: a solitary pig milking for nonexistent piglets, emphasizing the futility of the situation. Within this irony, underlying themes of loneliness and alienation echo the emotive motivations of the artist, giving rise to this comically cryptic scene. The composition hints at the cat playing an active role in kneading the pig’s back to produce the milk, which now overflows and pools onto the floor with the distorted patterns. The overall surreal atmosphere creates a narrative reminiscent of a page from a children’s book or a vivid hallucination, inviting viewers to imagine the fanciful steps the cat might have taken. The title, “Trotters Independent,” is borrowed from the 1980s British comedy sitcom “Only Fools and Horses,” where the main characters Del Boy and Rodney run a wheeler-dealer business called ‘Trotters Independent Trading.’ The show features Del Boy’s primitive and fraught schemes for quick money-making, akin to the futile scenario depicted in the painting. The characters often become consumed by short-term gains, oblivious to the consequences, ultimately leading them back to their starting point—a parallel that resonates with the comically cryptic nature of the artwork. Which one would own this emptiness after all in this painting? The pig or the cat?

Mother will see you now, Oil on canvas, 40x45cm, 2023

“Mother will see you now”, shows the artist’s contemplation on the significant burden of responsibility that women bear. The composition reflects not only the isolation of the individual cow but also metaphorically alludes to the collective weight of the expectations placed upon women. Upon closer examination, as the viewer’s gaze explores the painting, two eyes become discernible, peering out from the underbelly of the heifer. In this interaction the viewer becomes silently witnessed.

The cat’s got the cream and the cream is me , Oil on linen, 70x60cm, 2024

“The Cat’s Got the Cream and the Cream is Me,” delves into the artist’s fraught quest for an immaculate completion, a satisfying end to the hunt. The composition of figures heading different direction hints that, the artist may have overlooked what she truly seeks, inadvertently letting it slip between her paws as she sprinted headlong in the opposite direction. “We sometimes get blind and we may inadvertently bypass the very essence we seek. In the painting the cat bypasses the mouse, and in life it is we who bypass the self.” she explains.

Abigail McGinley(b.1999) is a British artist who recently graduated from Slade School. What we face in McGinley’s work is her honesty. The narrative she tells through her work is about uncomfortable facts that cannot be overlooked in contemporary life. She projects the emotions she faces in reality on the canvas through direct yet metaphorical lens. Although it’s nuanced discomfort, we cannot turn a blind eye to it.

2F 36-63 Hannam-daero 27-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea