REVIEW – New works at Axolotl Gallery

The latest pieces on display at Axolotl Gallery on Dundas Street add to the reputation the gallery has fast established for itself – as a platform for new and contemporary figurative art. Two painters’ works are on display, demonstrating how varied and interprative the human figure as subject can be.

The Pressure on Annette by Paul Munzi

The Pressure on Annette by Paul Munzi

Paul Munzi’s ‘Seeing in the Dark’ is a collection of female nudes rendered in an abstract, semi-cubist style. Flat planes of solid colour define form and shape, whilst the palette is light and fresh, filled with yellows, greens and pale blues.

One smaller piece – ‘Undecided’ – drips with mischievous humour from its bold compositional angles, depicting a figure sitting on the floor of an empty room, each leg pointed towards an opposite window.

Some of the smaller more vibrant works have less of an impact, but the large-scale, muted works – such as ‘The Pressure On Annette’, with its haunting, mouthless subject – are visually arresting, and Munzi’s show provides a welcome ray of light in these dark November days.

Harlots by Fiona Wilson

Harlots by Fiona Wilson

Fiona Wilson has her finger so tightly on the pulse of the zeitgeist, she is in danger of cutting off its circulation. In her ‘Fire & Brimstone’ collection, chiaroscuro oils depict burlesque artists and tattooed nudes, many with wings which transform them into metaphysical beings of light – or darkness. The moody pieces capitalise on the current fascination with the supernatural, combined with the vogue for burlesque and vintage style.

‘Harlots’ is – appropriately enough – a dominant piece, a large work depicting two sultry female figures. The background swirls with dark material and patterns behind them: it and the title give the work a devilish and sinful quality which is compelling. In ‘A Thing Of Beauty’, Wilson has incorporated real bird feathers into the oils, turning her portrait of a young woman into something more beguiling.

Another standout piece is ‘Greed’, featuring a dark-haired woman in provocative pose, her limbs fading into the Klimt-like pattern of the background. Other paintings in the collection are more graphical in style, feeling like panels from a graphic novel at times, but Wilson’s siren-like oils are most definitely the seductive stars of this show.

Both artists’ works are on display at Axolotl Gallery until 25 November

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