A group exhibition with Eleanor Johnson, William Kennedy & Gabriel Kenny-Ryder

“I felt my lungs inflate with the inrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’”
– Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar.

Paulilles Gallery is pleased to present its first major London exhibition, ‘THIS IS WHAT IT IS TO BE HAPPY’, featuring recent work by Eleanor Johnson, William Kennedy and Gabriel Kenny-Ryder.

An innate love for the natural world, a biophilia, is felt by almost everyone, resulting from our genetic make-up and evolutionary history. This is evidenced even in the most everyday spaces, our houses, offices and cafés teem with plant life. We are ruled by circadian rhythms, with ‘time outside’ prescribed as a cure for psychological ailments and anxieties. Yet particularly in modern times, our internal worlds have expanded exponentially, asserting priority over our external surroundings; both have consequently suffered. This exhibition explores this disconnection, proposing varied and contrasting interpretations, through photographic installation, painting and moving-image.

In her series ‘Modern Bathers’, Eleanor Johnson’s (insta) large-scale, colourful paintings present bodies dispersed amongst natural, sprawling landscapes. Her imagined compositions take visual fragments of Old Master paintings, mingling them with images of her own, to create scenes that suggest an anachronistic idyll reworked in a current and contemporary context.

William Kennedy (insta) is a multidisciplinary artist whose psychologically raw work addresses personal struggles with mental health. His art-making navigates a landscape of emotional trauma and disruptive mental processes. For his latest work, ‘when it’s cold i’d like to die’, William has assembled a kaleidoscopic, deeply immersive series of films from his visceral, fragmentary practice.

Gabriel Kenny-Ryder (insta) creates photographic ‘objects’ as part of installations. His series ‘Liminal Stretches’, made up of multi-frame panoramas from single rolls of medium-format film, depict coastlines and areas of environmental transition. Printed monumentally, they mould to the exhibition space, and are physical representations of environmental experiences, not merely photographs of them. Thus the past traces of the artist are brought to the present for the viewer to witness.

For more information, including the full press release, please email info@pauilliesgallery.com.


Private View: Thursday 30th May 6-9pm

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