Birch Contemporary

Renée Van Halm: Lean Back

Lean Back by Renée Van Halm continues the artist's practice of creating intimate paintings based on paper collages culled from mainstream interior decor and fashion magazines in the manner of the Hannah Höch and Georges Braque in the early 20th century. Expanding on the digitally designed reverse engineering strategy (building something new through the deconstruction of an already existent thing) of her two previous exhibitions, this new body of work returns, as its source material, to magazine layouts. The inherent structural flexibility of this process allows the artist to reconsider space and the objects therein in unfamiliar ways. Blocks of texture, fabric, light and colour, are aligned in a discordant manner, held together by ordered geometries of curves and varied angles.The artist directs her attention away from the main event in pictures, rather focusing on the backgrounds; the contexts that construct meaning for the figures and objects on display. By removing the figures, she privileges fragments of their often evocative settings. The paintings are at times reminiscent of her earlier constructed installations, wherein empty spaces provide a context for discrete images.