Lucy Cade

:tracing a line from a blaze to a spark

‘Relic’, Oil on canvas, 155 x 122cm, 2021

Relic’: reflection: This painting deals with illness and suffering from a feminist standpoint, placing a burning female figure in an indifferent surroundings. It confronts us with suffering and asks us to question our own and others’ attitudes.

‘I became a spider’, Oil on canvas, 122 x 153cm, 2021

I became a spider: reflection: As part of a series of paintings for my Arts Council funded project ‘The wounded oyster turns grit into pearl: processing trauma through painting, this painting controversially represents the sense of awe, escape and adventure (tinged with danger) felt during acute psychosis.

‘Chorus’, Oil on canvas, 100 x 80cm, 2021

Chorus’: reflection: This painting articulates the sense of being an inpatient in a hospital, being watched and observed by a ‘chorus’ of medical professionals. It breaks boundaries in terms of being a taboo subject and one which places the viewer in a ‘viewed’ position as an ill patient being scrutinised by the painting itself.

‘Covering Cherub’, Oil on canvas, 80 x 100cm, 2021

Covering Cherub’: reflection: This painting pushes at the limits of understood experience and breaks down the boundary of the knowable by making the sensation of sleep paralysis perceptible.

‘To re-enter a broken building’, Oil on canvas, 120 x 50cm, 2021

To re-enter a broken building’ was created when I was on a residency at Leicester Contemporary in the city centre in Leicester. The painting takes the abandoned tower blocks of the city centre as a metaphor for mental illness in a person, where the person’s body is the cityscape post-COVID. I was prompted to address my own history and my family’s history of postnatal psychotic illness following the isolation and thinking time afforded by the lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. I secured funding from Arts Council England to pursue my project ‘ The wounded oyster turns grit into pearl: processing trauma through painting’. The painting shows a family member (not myself) who suffered from mental ill health all her life and unfortunately took her own life when I was young. It shows her with me on her wedding day.

We both ended up giving birth despite our mental illnesses and took the risk that postpartum psychosis would strike however we still ‘re-entered the broken building’ and experienced much positivity as well as suffering from the experience. The painting speaks to anyone who has suffered from mental illness, whether brought on by surroundings or by genetics.

‘in the Sanatorium’, Oil on canvas, 50 x 50cm, 2021

In the sanatorium: reflection: This painting breaks down the boundary between representational and abstract and between what the painting sees and what we can see. It breaks the boundary between sane and insane, questioning our sanitising of madness in society.

‘The body keeps the score’, Oil on aluminium, 10x 30cm, 2020

The Body Keeps the Score: reflection: The painting is overloaded with references yet resists meaning, coining a new surrealism. It references Classicism from the 19th century, Pre-Raphaelite painting and representation of women. It expresses the awe of a terrible nightmare or psychotic experience, channelled through and experience of the glory of Rome somehow (chillingly founded on a downtrodden statue/woman).

‘Hypnagogic’, Oil on canvas, 25 x 25cm, 2021

Hypnagogic riffs on the idea of a fractured dream state experienced during psychosis.

‘with sunset violets, with livid faces, with hunger and blows in the corners’, Oil on canvas, 50 x 80cm

with sunset violets, with livid faces, with hunger and blows in the corners was inspired by lockdown as both a blissful solipsistic escape from normality at the same time as a sickly claustrophobic apocalyptic situation. I was reading Julio Cortazar’s Hopscotch at the time, and the title is a stream of consciousness quote from the main character’s time as a down and out artistic type in 1960s Paris. It seemed to express the dreaminess and latent brutality of the situation. The visual source for the painting was a re-photographed still from the plague film Twelve Monkeys. One of the characters is zipped into a protective suit to go out into the plague-ridden world and he has a moment of reverie in his cocooned space. My paintings aim to represent non-places which amplify the emotional charge of the figures inhabiting them

‘Am I an imbecile for having kissed time?’, Oil on canvas, 30x 40cm, 2020

Am I an imbecile for having kissed time?: reflection: This painting questions the boundary between representational solidity and digital ephemerality and ungraspableness. It straddles the boundary between painting and the digital world, calling the nature of appearances in our increasingly visual world into question.

‘Invisible Direction’, Oil on canvas, 40 x 40cm, 2020

Invisible Direction is part of a series exploring visual noise, perception, consciousness and gendered experience.

‘The Bridesmaid (after Millais)’, Oil on canvas, 80 x 50cm

The Bridesmaid’: reflection: This painting articulates art historical conventions of portraying women (it is based on John Everett Millais’ painting of the same name). Yet it does this while at the same time voicing the veiling and obscuring of women throughout history. The woman here is transfigured into an alternate reality beyond the veil of maya (the world of appearances).

‘that grooved emulsion in which dead people ran about’, Oil on canvas, 75 x 51cm, 2020

That grooved emulsion in which dead people ran about: reflection: This painting explores the limits of memory and representation bordering on abstraction. It taps into female iconography and subverts this, questioning how this might be the limit of what we can ‘see’ and ‘create’ within the painted world. The figure acts as an avatar for my experience of navigating these boundaries.

‘Wall of (ultra)sound / Replay’, Digital photo, oil on canvas painting, dimensions variable, 2020-21

Wall of (ultra)sound: reflection: The painting arises from second hand imagery and creates ‘noise’ from an exploitation of the natural defects of digital reproduction, in particular the complex process of the moire effect (due to the grid-like nature of the cathode ray tube TV the original photo was taken from). It finds ‘nature’, and natural effects in something which is highly artificial, and imbues it with emotion and referential glances at a wide variety of art historical moments, from the Post-Impressionists to Rubens.

‘Sparkler’, Oil on canvas, 122 x 153cm, 2021

Sparkler explores different painterly styles to express a dream or memory emotionally heightened by a family tragedy.

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