Danica Lundy’s sensorial, figurative paintings are compositionally complex and slow to reveal their nature. Describing her language as ‘a visceral hyper-reality that shows everything at once’, she exploits painting's potential for panoptical vision, using multiple perspectives, hybrid forms and differing scales in her complex tableaux. ‘A painting can become a poem, a nightmare, a construction site; a lived-in arena for testing out the limits of one’s own power’, she has stated.
Lundy’s figuration plays out in densely crowded narrative scenes. Alive with incident, autobiography yields to larger themes in polyphonic narratives that reflect the varied theatre of human life: from the epic to the banal, and the torrid to the ecstatic. Starting with a rudimentary vision – what she calls a ‘mind-made structure’ – Lundy’s paintings evolve from detailed drawings into improvisational and gestural brushwork. Developing, in some instances, into highly realistic passages and in others into a predominantly expressionistic painterly language, her images oscillate between revealing and concealing their subject and intention.
Now Brooklyn based, Lundy grew up on rural Salt Spring Island in Canada and in many of her paintings draws on her own experiences as a teenager and athlete. Her lucid scenes of parties, classrooms or sports stadiums reflect the potency of teenage emotions, the threshold of becoming, and the sensory experience of adolescent life. Using unexpected shifts in perspective and viewpoint, sometimes including her own watchful eye captured in a reflection, she crowds the viewer into the action. Adopting the point of view of a surgeon, sportsman, partygoer or bystander, we are made aware of the mechanics of looking and the exchange involved in seeing, and being seen.
Lundy’s work encompasses a broad range of references, from poetry and songs to film, television shows and current events; across early Netherlandish painting to the figurative tradition of Max Beckmann and Otto Dix, where physical distortion links directly to sensation and emotion. Interrogating how it feels to inhabit a body and how this might inflect our individual perspective, she makes an explicit connection between emotional uncertainty and bodily discomfort, using her subjects, who seem to willingly embrace abandon, as ‘receptacles for chaos and danger, improvisation, risk and ecstasy’.
Suffused with the literal mess of life, Lundy presents both the ‘stage’ and its wings − the ‘behind the scenes’ reality − with a forensic attention to detail. Soda cans, cigarettes, tampons, cotton buds, screws, bolts and zippers spill across the surface of her pictures, like the missed clues in an unsolved crime. Allowing the viewer to consider everything at once, to look up, down, into and around, Lundy says that she wants a painting ‘to evoke a young lifetime’s worth of cultural gunk, great paintings, friction, disillusionment, jubilation, heartache.’
Danica Lundy (b. 1991, Salt Spring, Canada) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her BFA from Mount Allison University, Sackville, and completed her MFA at the New York Academy of Art, where she concentrated on painting and was awarded the Leipzig International Art Programme Residency and the Chubb Post-Graduate Fellowship. A three-time Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant recipient, Lundy has exhibited internationally, with solo shows in Canada, Italy, Germany, and the United States. Her work is in the public collections of Dallas Museum of Art, Institute of Contemporary Art Miami and Sydney Modern Project, New South Wales.