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Danica Lundy, Mason's Yard (2024)

Danica Lundy


15 May – 29 June 2024


15 May – 29 June 2024


White Cube Mason’s Yard

25 – 26 Mason's Yard
London SW1Y 6BU

‘Lundy deploys the wet language of oil paint to get at the content (and discontent) she’s chasing. In her hands, painting is an audaciously refreshed technology for seeing into the world – a way of peeling back the skin of rooms, cars and bodies and fearlessly pushing in’

— Justin Paton, 2023

White Cube is pleased to present ‘Boombox’, an exhibition of new paintings by Danica Lundy. In her second exhibition with the gallery, the artist explores structures of power and how these inform and determine the fabric of the everyday – their influence over our bodies, our relationships and how they permeate our industries and social strata. Lundy’s detail-laden, panoptical compositions draw on daily events, subjecting them to the scrutiny of an augmented lens. Employing shifting perspectives, merging images and manipulating proportions, a poetic framework for these typically quotidian scenes emerges in which the familiar makes room for the uncanny.

Often listening to music while she works, Lundy describes how ‘music logic’ underpins the rhythmic orchestration of the image, while also providing the point of departure for the exhibition as a whole. ‘A dozen songs (or paintings) made to fit and flow together can do something really dimensional and intangible’, she explains. ‘A good album is a little time machine; it starts playing and you can taste and hear and smell the place you were the first time it came on. Every time you listen you bring to it a changed version of yourself and get to find new meaning.’

Summoning the transportive potential of music, Bowery Ballroom II (2024) draws on the artist’s poignant memory of watching her sister, a musician, perform at New York’s Bowery Ballroom shortly after the death of their father. Lundy reimagines the scene from a vantage point at the back of the stage, as if located within the wall itself, looking out at the rapt audience. Foregrounding the technical stage-set equipment, the scene splices the theatre of the moment with motifs drawn from classical painting − Lundy references a passage from a Netherlandish painting of a crucifixion with an attendant crowd of onlookers. Akin to a secular ceremony, the subject of her painting exalts the performer to the status of divinity, while the concert goers, located as they are, provide the viewer with a mirror to their own spectatorship.

Lundy brings the smaller narrative moments of her paintings into sharp focus using techniques of cropping, flattening or magnification. Such examples include a beer can with its ring lifted and ready to be opened, a straw primed to pierce the lid of a cup, and a coin half-fed into the slot of a vending machine. Suspended in animation, visual incidents in Lundy’s images are atemporal. Further complicating this tension of deferred contact, action or motion, across the group of paintings certain motifs reappear. For example, an apple core tattooed on the arm of a takeout server in Autobody Homecoming (2024), can be seen in Spotting (2024), and again in Bowery Ballroom II. Lundy also uses reflective surfaces and unconventional perspectives to create space where the visual noise of the composition itself seems to contradict this – heightening an awareness of looking and the uneasy exchange between seeing and being seen.

The subject of the painting Yank (2024) suggests a biopolitical examination, where bodily agency is subject to social, medical or infrastructural power. Depicting an IUD removal, the female body seen in Yank appears to morph into a cavernous void. Lundy’s near fisheye perspective sees ovaries enlarged to the size of footballs and pelvic bones contorted into the faces of two masked doctors. Created in the aftermath of the 2022 landmark decision by the US Supreme Court that repealed nationwide abortion rights, the palette of red, white and blue becomes powerfully ironic.

Burn one, drag it through the garden (2024), a title inspired by American diner jargon, drops the viewer into a bustling kitchen, observing a confrontation between a waitress and a cook. The warring protagonists are surrounded by the trappings of their workplace – a towering pile of sheets from an order pad, and an overflowing dustbin whose waste contents suggest an Old Master still life – while plates of freshly prepared food grow cold.

Realised in a sober palette with accents suggesting artificial light sources, Lundy’s painterly gestures, from crisp to fluid, take on an expressionistic force. In Quiet night at the NICU (2024), painted following the early delivery of the artist’s first child, the tender and the macabre converge in the depiction of the premature baby. Two large arms, severed at the elbow to reveal gaping cross sections of flesh and bone, cradling the infant lying inside an incubator, both echo and subvert the classical motif of mother and child. Alongside the inclusion of a shroud-like blanket, portending mortality, this incubator is also stickered with a black fly. While illustrated with hearts for eyes, Lundy’s use of trompe l’oeil effects, another nod to early Renaissance painting, enhances a hyperreal presence.

In Lundy’s work, autobiography yields to larger themes through narratives that address the theatre of human experience. As suggested by the exhibition’s title, ‘Boombox’, the paintings locate themselves at the ‘border between what’s inside and what’s outside’. The threshold of the body (or the machine) serves as structural framework, albeit one that is porous and penetrable, beyond which the external world inundates with a cacophony of sounds, sights and smells. As writer and art critic Justin Paton describes: ‘Lundy deploys the wet language of oil paint to get at the content (and discontent) she’s chasing. In her hands, painting is an audaciously refreshed technology for seeing into the world – a way of peeling back the skin of rooms, cars and bodies and fearlessly pushing in’.(1)

Danica Lundy (b.1991, Salt Spring, Canada) lives and works in Connecticut. 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 Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. Her work is in the public collections of Dallas Museum of Art; Denver Art Museum; Institute of Contemporary Art Miami; Sydney Modern Project, New South Wales; Hall Art Foundation; Green Family Art Foundation; Centre of International Contemporary Art Vancouver; and Contemporary Art Foundation, Japan.

(1) Justin Paton, Dreamhome: stories of art and shelter, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2023

Installation Views

Featured Works

Danica Lundy

Bowery ballroom II, 2024

Danica Lundy

I like the boys and the boys like me, 2023

Danica Lundy

Autobody homecoming, 2024

Danica Lundy

Vending machine, 2024

Danica Lundy

Spotting, 2024

Danica Lundy

The toonie, 2024

Danica Lundy

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