Myths of Observation: Martyn Cross, Jacqui Hallum, Hew Locke, Anna Perach, Lucy Stein, Maddalena Zadra, Alyina Zaidi

10 June - 30 July 2022 London

Opening reception: Thursday 9 June, 6-8pm

Hales London, 7 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA


Hales is delighted to present Myths of Observation, a group exhibition featuring works by Martyn Cross, Jacqui Hallum, Hew Locke, Anna Perach, Lucy Stein, Maddalena Zadra and Alyina Zaidi. 


The exhibition takes the concept Geomythology as a starting point to explore the connection between storytelling and our physical and spiritual environment. Geomythology, also referred to as Myths of Observation, is the study of oral history and folklore to explain geological phenomena and natural features of the landscape in pre-scientific cultures. The exhibition expands beyond the historic, bringing in present stories and perspectives. The artworks acknowledge the role that myths play, both as cultural heritage and contemporary storytelling, as tools for understanding and navigating reality today. 


Working across painting and sculpture, and currently based in the UK, these artists communicate stories from near and far. In poetic reimaginations of the world around us - the works draw on a long tradition in art history to convey inner concerns, thoughts and feelings through the outer world. In transcendental works, the mythic and spiritual qualities are not fixed, invoking wonder and introspection. 


Drawing on concepts from mythology and the medieval, Martyn Cross creates paintings where the landscape is personified. Figures, eyes and solitary limbs emerge from clouds and rivers, speaking to an alternate human experience. In draped and suspended work, Jacqui Hallum pushes the boundaries of painting - ever changing, concealing and revealing, within the painting themselves and installation. Embracing chance and alchemy, out of the watery depths Hallum creates a living landscape. In painted photographs, Hew Locke bestows a spirituality to the once grandiose houses of Guyana. The wooden architecture has fallen into disrepair, returning back to the earth from which they originally came as trees. Locke sees them as spirit houses, quietly holding on to legacies, nostalgia and memories of his youth. Anna Perach's sculptural piece is inspired by the infamous Harry Kellar's magic trick of the same name. The intricately tufted work speaks to the experience of being detached, defiant but always feeling the pull of origins - personal or geographical. Lucy Stein's luscious paintings combine a multitude of references, including esoteric cultures, Greek mythology and medieval imagery to explore the contemporary female painter's relationship to painterly traditions. Linking symbols and storytelling, Maddalena Zadra often creates a humorous visual pun in her paintings. Sewn together canvas evokes a timeworn flag for a fictional nation and her mark making exudes prehistoric cave painting. Alyina Zaidi draws on the magical thinking that she comes across back home in Delhi. Intensely detailed and full of narrative clues, she creates her own rituals during the process of painting - rendering her paintings rich with talismanic properties. 




Martyn Cross (b. 1975 UK) lives and works in Bristol, UK. In 2021, he had a solo exhibition at Ratio 3, San Francisco, CA. His artworks were recently included in A Thought Sublime, a group exhibition at Marianne Boesky Gallery, NY (2021) and Ratio 3's Summer Sessions group exhibition in Los Angeles, CA (2021). Cross will have a solo exhibition at Hales London this coming winter. 


Jacqui Hallum (b.1977 UK) lives and works in Devon, UK. She holds a BA in Fine Art from Coventry School of Art & Design and an MFA in Painting from the Slade School of Fine Art. Hallum's solo exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK (2019) followed a three-month fellowship at Liverpool John Moores University, which resulted from winning the prestigious John Moores Painting Prize (2018). She has exhibitions at Oceans Apart, Salford (2020); Gallery Art Space Portsmouth (2019); Exeter Phoenix (2018); Intercession, Northampton (2018); and Kingsgate Project Space (2018).


Hew Locke RA (b. 1959, Edinburgh, UK) is a Guyanese-British artist who lives and works in London, UK. Locke's spectacular installation for Tate Britain's Duveen Galleries Commission is currently open to the public. In 2022, he was made a Royal Academician. Autumn will see Locke's Met Museum's 2022 Facade Commission. His work was included in the major group exhibition, Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art 1950s, Tate Britain 2021-2022. He is included in many collections, including Tate; The Victoria and Albert Museum; The British Museum; The Brooklyn Museum; Perez Art Museum; among others. 


Anna Perach (b.1985, USSR) lives and works in London, UK. She completed her MFA in fine art from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2020. She has recently had a solo show at Edel Assanti, London, UK (2022) and has exhibited at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, UK (2022); Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel (2021); White Cube, London, UK (2020); MOSTYN, Llandudno, Wales (2019); Mimosa House, London, UK (2019). In 2020, she received awards from Sarabande, The Lee Alexander McQueen Foundation and the Royal Society of Sculptors. 


Lucy Stein (b.1979, Oxford, UK) lives and works in St Just, West Cornwall, UK. Stein studied at The Glasgow School of Art, and De Ateliers, in Amsterdam. Her recent solo exhibition Wet Room toured from Spike Island, Bristol to De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill UK (2021/22). Her work has been shown at Futura, Prague, Czech Republic (2020); Bonington Gallery, Nottingham, UK (2019); Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Tate St Ives, UK (both 2018); NICC Brussels; TULCA festival, Galway; Newlyn Gallery, Penzance, UK (all 2017); Migros Museum, Zurich (2014); Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; and ICA London (both 2006). 


Maddalena Zadra (b. 1996, Italy) lives and works in London. She studied at the University of Brighton, graduating in 2018, and has since shown nationally and internationally including Hard as Nails at Quench Gallery, Margate, UK (2021/2022); End of Summer Lights at Anderson Contemporary, London, UK (2021); N.43 with Atelier LK, London, UK (2021); Cats Mother, Her, She, Organhaus Gallery, Chongqing, China (2019); and 'FBA Futures', Mall Galleries, London, UK (2019).


Alyina Zaidi (b. 1995, New Delhi, India), lives and works in London. Zaidi earned her BA at Mount Holyoke College, MA, and her MA Painting from Royal College of Art, London, UK. Recent exhibitions include Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, UK (2022); Newchild Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium (2022); Indigo + Madder, London, UK (2021); White Cube, London, UK (online); and Royal College of Art at Cromwell Place, London, UK (2021).

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