Something Other Than This
The works in Something Other Than This explore Lonsdale’s identity, sexuality, independence, and the digitized methods of human connection that she developed during her experience in quarantine isolation. Working in oil and spray paint, Lonsdale’s canvases reveal abstracted autobiographical narratives that investigate the dichotomies of contemporary womanhood. She explores the push and pull between the many roles of her public and private life, specifically the contrasting desires of women to be mother figures as well as sexual creatures, strong and powerful as well as soft and nurturing. Lonsdale’s works challenge her viewers to see women as complex and full humans that evade the flattening of one identity, and instead morph, shift, and spill into many roles simultaneously. Her figures are blocky and strong, while also soft, with delicate gestures and diaphanous bodies that suggest both tenderness and fluidity. Though she refers to her paintings as autobiographical, Lonsdale does not see these works as solely overt depictions of memories, but rather portraits of true feelings or emotional states she has experienced. Aspects of reality do intertwine with these feelings: fruits, flowers, and furniture hint at domestic spaces, but the paintings are rooted in Lonsdale’s inner world. Objects and miniature scenes within the paintings create subplots so that ultimately her works leave the viewer with both an imprint of an emotion as well as a lingering sense of curiosity about the stories behind each scene. The paintings are timely, almost all created in Lonsdale’s home studio during quarantine. In response to this experience, the works also look at how connection, intimacy, and sexuality have become digitized, alluded to through the presence of technology such as laptops or phone screens.
Lonsdale’s creative process begins with preliminary sketching. She pulls from a mixture of found imagery: from Instagram and backdated magazines, to memories and her imagination. These sketches lead to the canvas where she often begins with spray paint and then turns to oil. Through this layering she builds a sense of history into each of her works, as well as a dreamlike quality to the spaces her figures inhabit. By layering figures and objects as she adds to each piece, she allows some figures to come through others and float on top of their surroundings. To Lonsdale, it is important to the emotion of the work for all the aspects of the painting to be close to the surface in thin layers and for the paintings to have a sense of life and history.
Tahnee Lonsdale holds a BA from the Byam Shaw School of Art in London. Since graduating in 2007, she has been short-listed for both the Dazed and Confused Emerging Artist Award and “100 Painters of Tomorrow.” Her work has been exhibited widely in her native Britain, as well as in the United States at venues such as the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Ana, CA. Lonsdale currently lives and works in Los Angeles.