Elinor Stanley @ House for an Art Lover

Elinor Stanley brings intimate paintings of bald heads and retreating figures to Mackintosh's House for an Art Lover.

Review by Adam Benmakhlouf | 05 Dec 2016
  • Elinor Stanley, Install shot at House for an Art Lover

For one night, House of an Art Lover resident painter Elinor Stanley’s work took 'brief residence' around the Mackintosh -designed show home. Making themselves comfortable, there were portraits of bald heads, handmade ceramic and paintings of traversing figures.

Though often gesturally marked, the works also operate without excessive detail. In one small portrait of a bald head, a white silhouette of a side profile is cut into a dark blue landscape background – suggested by a lighter upper section. A heavily lidded eye communicates tiredness in the nighttime landscape, or maybe drunkenness as it’s also spray painted on top with a bright, snaking and blurry peach pink.

Set on the decorative and uneven wood panelling of the dining room’s dark wood walls, there’s an interesting and unusual contrast that allows for the subtleties of the muted colour palette to be appreciated. Also emphasised by the straight ridges of the decorative wall paneling, there’s the bowed edge of one portrait that is kinked just above the top curve of a bald scalp, maybe suggesting an uneven pressure on that point, a pushing down onto the peak of the skull.

As if being led through each of the three exhibition spaces, there is the repeated motif of two figures seen from behind and diagonally. With a horizon line set on the top right corner, the three works come to suggest being long outrun or eluded in a bad-natured torturing by long limbed angels on humble followers – through bright light in one, then dark graphite, then a screen of lush greens.

Only open for two hours, an entire show run of visitors met together, made to visit simultaneously rather than punctuated over days and as strange and present to each other as the unknown but readable faces and bodies depicted. 

Run ended.