An exhibition of blurred recollections, of portraits fading into the neutral pit of ennui and blank-faced introspection, this is first solo exhibition on African shores of the young French artist selected by Saatchi Art as “one of 12 emerging international artist to invest in”.
For the Christopher Moller Art Gallery this is the second coup in as many years, having hosted an exhibition by another of the Saatchi-anointed, Andrew Salgado, in early 2014.
Lou Ros’ work is strikingly audacious in the consistent perversion of the linear approach to composition; certain aspects of the image are allowed meticulous definition, while the remainder of the canvas experiences a blurred and streaked fate.
On +/- 20 canvasses of all sizes, the pop art element is in evidence, with abstract oil smears and strokes upon the glacial faces that populate the monochromatic background of the Somewhere scene, but it is held back sufficiently enough to frustrate the label-conscious.
The wondrous aspect of the exhibition is its casual strength in avoiding both caricature and genre definition. The ‘JMP 2’ portrait of the artist’s partner, for example, is a sublime neo classic statement on femininity, yet lightly flecked with incongruous reds and pink tendrils.
‘Playmates’ is a lurid-yet-decayed snippet of nostalgia for 1960’s sexual liberation, wherein the leggy girls in their daringly short miniskirts and white knee high boots are rendered as faceless effigies with bunny ears.
Revealing memories as opaque vistas through a drunkard’s glass, Ros is a master of the twilight déjà vous. The oracles at Saatchi Art have prophesied well.
Somewhere – a solo exhibition by Lou Ros – can be seen at the Christopher Moller Gallery, 29 January to 3 March 2015.