Grove Collective is pleased to present the upcoming two-person exhibition A Small Dent in the Air, featuring London-based artist Lucie Gray and Mumbai-based artist Shailee Mehta, on view online in virtual reality through the Grove Collective website. This is the first time these artists have shown together, and marks the first time Grove Collective has worked with both Gray and Mehta.
There is little of both Gray and Mehta’s work that is not founded in the real; human forms populate their scenes, moving and posing in ways that are intimately familiar. However, both artists swiftly and firmly diverge from this worldly foundation, each rearranging reality in their own terms. For Gray, this rearrangement often takes the form of allegory, as lecherous cat figures and eroticised women breed an unsure tension. While the cats themselves evoke animalised phraseology – the monkey on one’s back, the elephant in the room – the figures’ ardent rapaciousness leaves them firm actors in Gray’s work, symbols-cum-antagonists. In turn, Mehta’s scenes lean more towards the mystical, her compositions suggesting the primeval: the viewer feels privy to a moment of discovery, one underscored by the vulnerability of the lack of that newfound knowledge.
And yet, as we grasp for the meaning in these works, both Gray and Mehta draw the viewer back to the human form and its barren truths: amid these fantastical scenes, these humans must breathe, that breath itself only a small dent in the air.
It is this relationship to the body that acts as Grove Collective’s thematic mooring; following a series of exhibitions that have placed a primacy on the body, this exhibition extends on these ideas while providing a means for further exploration. While the body proves a point of origin here, the concerns of Gray’s and Mehta’s work draw notions of the symbolic and mystical to the fore – far from relishing a “closed loop”, co-Directors Jacob Barnes and Morgane Wagner have eagerly engaged new avenues for thought, inviting viewers to do the same.