Roman Road is delighted to present Under Blue Shade, a multimedia group exhibition curated by Mollie E Barnes, featuring works by five ultra-contemporary artists: Gaia Fugazza, Zoë Marden, Precious Opara, Alina Vergnano and Lian Zhang. Bringing together paintings, ceramics and sculptural works, connected through the universal concept of water, the show explores personal mythologies, dualities of the self, and the fluidity of experience and gender.
Water has been a consistent symbol throughout time, with many cultures and religions viewing water as a sacred, purifying element. Within Chinese culture, it plays a significant and indispensible role in traditional tea ceremonies, which is explored in Lian Zhang's work Shadows in the Water (2023); the delicate wood grain is a stream-like entity, leading the eye to the cup of tea in the foreground. Zhang is fascinated by the significance that viewers place on a symbol through their individual projections and experiences. To the artist, there is a universality in water that transcends these experiences and unites everyone.
Gaia Fugazza continues an exploration into the origin-properties of water. Her scenes reference the fact that we build societies around water and examine the cycles of life through plant growth and reproduction. Similarly, Zoë Marden's multimedia works continue this exploration of the ocean as the base of all humankind, a necessary safe space and alternate world. Her subaquatic and intimate ceramic pieces are curvaceous, reminiscent of both coral reefs and vulva patterns. Water provides a space for freedom, exploration and truth, of how we are genetically intertwined.
Precious Opara's works examine the psyche and ways in which the human form interacts with bodies of water. Through her paintings, figures and limbs are merged and distorted with the natural environment, blurring the line between landscape and body, and demonstrating the importance of interaction and climate responsibility. Similarly, Alina Vergnano presents the fluidity and continuation of both time and experience through rhythmic works. Her compositions revolve around the tensions between balance and unbalance, assonance and dissonance. The traces of bodies float through the projected waves, morphing from abstraction into figuration.
Collectively, the works in Under Blue Shade remind us of our dependence on, and sacredness of, the element, the fact that Mother Earth doesn't need us to survive, and the universality of water itself. With an opening event on Thursday 20 April, from 6 – 8 PM, the exhibition will be on display at Roman Road’s gallery in Notting Hill from 21 April through 10 June 2023.
50 Golborne Road
London W10 5PR