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They Only Want You When You’re Seventeen

Katie Tomlinson

[LKIF Gallery] Katie Tomlinson, They Only Want You When You’re Seventeen, 2024, Oil on canvas, 140 x 110 cm

LKIF Gallery is pleased to present They Only Want You When You’re Seventeen, Katie Tomlinson’s (b.1996, England) first solo exhibition with the gallery, through 6 to 27 April 2024.

In this new body of work, each painting is a container for simultaneous narratives that explore representations of femininity, innocence, youth and beauty within contemporary culture.

[LKIF Gallery] Katie Tomlinson, Over and over, 2024, Oil on canvas, 130 x 180 cm

Tomlinson’s paintings depict representations of female figures that exist amongst vivid colour, playful and surreal motifs, absurdity, symbolism, varying applications of paint, and references to popular culture and the history of art. Through the amalgamation of past and present, the works explore representations of girlhood and womanhood, and critiques the objectification of women throughout the impressionist movement, and today.

[LKIF Gallery] Katie Tomlinson, Give us a kiss, 2024, Oil on wood, two joined panels, 50 x 80 cm

By employing stylistic and symbolic tropes embedded within the impressionist movement, the works engage with questions of viewership, voyeurism and consumption. For example, They Only Want You When You’re Seventeen (2024) was influenced by Paul Gauguin’s ‘Two Tahitian Women’ (1899) and ‘Woman In Red Dress’ (1891) and highlights the impressionists comparisons of the ‘desirable’ young body with ripe fruit, and the colour red as a symbol of passion and lust.

[LKIF Gallery] Katie Tomlinson, Grace, 2024, Oil on wood, 50 x 40 cm

Over and Over (2024) delves further into cultural consumption of innocence, and questions whether engendering innocence with cultural value invites its violation. The painting depicts young women in white sundresses skipping through a landscape, taken from a still of the Marc Jacobs ‘Daisy’ advert. It is reminiscent of women depicted throughout Western art history and within paintings such as ‘Symphony In White’ (1862) by James McNeill Whistler in which white dresses are used to represent women’s innocence, purity, and youth. Tomlinson has also situated the figures inside an appropriated impressionist landscape by Henri Edmond Cross (1856–1910) to further relate this contemporary reference back to Impressionism and its stylistic tropes.

[LKIF Gallery] Katie Tomlinson, Until they let you go, 2024, Oil on canvas, 140 x 110 cm

By overtly referencing the canon of Western, patriarchal history of Painting, Tomlinson reconsiders moments from paintings past. Harbouring this as a tool, this showcase delivers pointed critiques on problematic depictions of women within culture, defined by heteronormativity and gender bias.

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