Anika Roach: In Spite of That Taymour Grahne Projects, London
2 – 30 April 2022
All images courtesy of Taymour Grahne Projects
Taymour Grahne Projects is pleased to present In Spite of That, a solo exhibition by London-based artist Anika Roach, opening on April 2 between 4-7 pm at the Notting Hill space (1 Lonsdale Road) as part of a joint opening across our 3 spaces.
The paintings included in Anika Roach’s first solo show in London place a strong sense of importance upon representation. Luminous yellows, reds, pinks, and blues are juxtaposed with missing limbs and genderless figures seen in peculiar scenarios. While these paintings can sometimes feel disconcerting, they allow multiple interpretations as the artist seeks to broaden existing narratives surrounding the painting of black bodies. Through her practice, Roach contributes to the relevant discussion held by a new wave of contemporary figurative artists on the shortage of black figures in western art history. In this way, Roach challenges the art historical cannon as well as the social and political weight which often negates the uniqueness of the black experience.
Humour and moments of absurdity are at the basis of Roach’s work, contributing to the creation of a much needed space for conversations attached to how blackness is represented today. Recurring features such as faceless figures who lack specificity are deliberate and playful, thus allowing meaning to be found more broadly and discourses to remain open. As such, they endeavour to undermine and confuse established pre-configured social norms.
Roach’s paintings are generally informed by sport history, politics, as well as a diverse range of media from classical art and popular culture. Film imagery, music, and fleeting everyday moments witnessed while moving through London permeate the work. These themes and images all contribute to the artist’s visual vocabulary, eventually giving a collage-like character to the final composition, where thoughts are mapped and meaning is layered and encoded through formal elements.
Offering a deeply meaningful exploration of questions on race and gender, Anika Roach’s works don’t necessarily offer any concrete answers, but rather remain open ended to encourage active engagement and meaning. As the viewer looks beyond the first layer, elements begin to transform and meaning unravels, leaving them to question established historical frameworks and inviting a nuanced discussion of representation to take place within the exhibition framework.
Anika Roach is a painter living and working in London. She studied Fine Art and the History of Art at Goldsmiths University and holds a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design from the Camberwell College of Arts, London. Roach was shortlisted for the 2019 Woon Foundation Prize, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and was included in the Bloomberg New Contemporaries show at South London Gallery in 2020. Her work will be part of the gallery’s upcoming Intimacy Group Show taking place in London in May 2022.