Working across drawing, painting and sculpture, Kate Lyddon creates scenes of bodily absurdity and dark humour. A cast of characters, sometimes cartoon-like and often grotesque, enact a variety of nonsensical actions and poses. For this Invites exhibition Lyddon has produced a new series of works, linked by the motif of trees in various guises – spreading branches, twisting roots, and dead stumps – which merge and morph into human form. These figures march, chop, and dance across complex compositions.
The production of each work involves embarking on a journey into the unknown, with Lyddon feeling her way at every step. Combining a variety of mark-making and collage techniques, Lyddon’s pencil drawings, detailed etchings, human size sculptures, and expansive canvases result in a range of scales within the exhibition. Resisting stability or repetition, Lyddon’s formal experimentation allows chance and serendipity to play an active role in determining the direction her imagery grows.
Lyddon’s approach acknowledges and draws on the messy nature of ‘real life’, which seeps into the enclosed worlds she creates, without ever threatening to undercut their otherworldly strangeness. Rather than communicating a central narrative, she instead proffers images that emerge intuitively from her imagination. Their fascination resides in the way that they convey latent meaning which ranges from the general to the specific, the ugly to the beautiful, and from the age-old to the contemporary.