Sarah Muirhead | SCOPOPHILIA at Leyden Gallery

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In her current series of work titled SCOPOPHILIA, Sarah Muirhead explores the subject of both a beholding gaze and the corporeal process of painting. Following her previous sell out 2015 show Bonded at Leyden Gallery, these new paintings are exhibited for the first time in Muirhead's eagerly anticipated second solo exhibition. For over a year the artist Sarah Muirhead has been working on a collection of images that explore visually the fetishisation of people we adore or lust after. Through a psychoanalyic lens, Muirhead's paintings focus on depictions of professional extroverts, often performers, who offer an expanded creative sight/site by which to illustrate the feelings and desires of an introvert - namely the artist. "Each subject appears realistic, touchable and tangible but their incarnation is unreal, unreachable." Sarah Muirhead This idealised subject at once appears frozen, as if a beautiful mirage, and yet is also physical and bodily; presented as an objectified, even dehumanised icon, and as such revisits and reconfigures an ancient visual path littered with tormented and beatified religious icons and the love they engendered. The new series of paintings in Scopolphilia represent the artist's attempt to paint and draw her own voyeuristic tendencies, without reducing them as records and celebrations of beautiful friends who represent different subcultures, creative movements and alternative expressions of self. This latest work is part of a long-standing practice and a wider meditation on the representation of gender and sexuality. It takes stock and examines the concept of a perfect glass wall between us and the people we observe detail. As Muirhead says: "I want there to be a glimmer of the real person being objectified, idealised or fetishised. The representational side of the work should still be a kind of documentation of people under my spotlight." Sarah Muirhead SCOPOPHILIA, the morbid urge to gaze, pleasure from looking, is a meditation about gender, sexuality and self. The subject is aware they are being looked at and Muirhead is interested in the silent dynamic between the two sides. Since her first encounter with the word in one of her favourite films Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960), Muirhead has been fascinated by different people's own subjective interpretation of the world, whether they moralise, recoil or sympathise with the notion of the morbid urge to gaze.

Venue Details & Map

Leyden Gallery

9/9a Leyden Street
E1 7LE

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