Richard Learoyd

The artist considers new approaches to classical themes.

Mirror, Eye, Candle, Lemon, 2021
unique Ilfochrome photograph, 39 x 33-7/8 inches (framed) [99 x 86 cm]

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present a new exhibition by British artist Richard Learoyd, his fifth with the gallery. Learoyd’s recent work deepens his exploration of classical themes, using exacting techniques to create pictorially lush, one-of-a-kind photographs. The exhibition features approximately twenty works—nudes, still lifes, and portraits—made over the last three years using the artist’s room-sized camera obscura in London. The gallery will host a public reception with the artist on Saturday, October 29, from 12-2pm.

Cecilia after Weston, 2020
unique Ilfochrome photograph, 47-5/8 x 38-7/8 inches (framed) [120.9 x 98.7 cm]

Learoyd’s meticulous process uses cumbersome technology to make rich, grainless images that are painterly in their nuanced attention to pose, detail, tone, and texture. His botanical still lifes depict vibrant and wilting flowers, subjects Learoyd has called transient and fugitive, “alive and dead at the same time.” Other still lifes feature taxidermied parrots, elephant bones, candles, and mirrors—objects that suggest questions of illusion and mortality.

Red grapes, 2022
unique Ilfochrome photograph, 29-1/2 x 25-1/4 inches (framed) [74.9 x 64.1 cm]

Many of the works feature fine lines criss-crossing the image, created with string suspended in front of the lens or pressed flat against the photographic paper inside the camera obscura—or a combination of these techniques. In Obliteration after Modigliani, a mass of threads partially obscures the figure, pushing the nude into abstraction and suggesting tangles of neurons or blood vessels. Relatedly, in Dahlias, flowers are suspended by a network of fine threads serving as a weightless armature and defining the space around the subject.

Works on View

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