'I saw him for the first time at a gathering - two eyes wide open at the edge of dawn' - from First Time by Celia Dropkin, translated from Yiddish.
Liorah Tchiprout’s debut solo exhibition at Marlborough Gallery, Two Eyes Wide Open at the Edge of Dawn, explores new beginnings. The exhibition consists of paintings, monotypes and etchings, all portraits of subjects who gaze confidently at the viewer or who turn away lost in thought. The paintings, in muted colours punctuated with evocative pinks, yellows and reds, mark the dawn of the artist as a painter on a much larger scale than before.
Expressions of sorrowful longing and self-assuredness are performed by the artist’s cast of “players” as if on stage. These are dolls she makes in her studio, which are used as models in her paintings and prints. Tchiprout also includes other objects from her studio as set dressings - an orange orb lamp becomes the moon or the sun; a corn bunting bird becomes a skylark sharing knowledge and marking the passing of time; the artist’s dog becomes a guardian of safety.
While less descriptive of the content of the paintings themselves, the titles reflect the inner lives of the sitters. Their thoughts, feelings and desires are expressed through excerpts from songs and poetry.
The exhibition’s title is from a poem by Celia Dropkin and is in keeping with the artist’s love of Yiddish women writers. They are often thematically linked through cultural references and explorations of the interior experience of womanhood. Artist references and influences include Paula Modersohn-Becker, Käthe Kollwitz, R. B. Kitaj, Charlotte Salomon and Celia Paul.