Natalie Lavelle
Pictorial Space
13-10-21 – 06.11.21

The art historian Richard Shiff once quoted American sculptor Richard Serra as claiming that squares typically appear heavier than rectangles of the same size. What Serra identifies here is an innate space, or ‘gap’, between a shape’s physical attributes and pictorial qualities as perceived by the viewer. Amongst these declarations of materiality and objecthood, Serra’s proposal inserts itself as a rectangular motif, endlessly repeated across each work. Sometimes it appears as a fine outline, meticulously painted; a darkened, central void; a shadow emerging from layers of thin acrylic washes; or a wobbly contour drawn with a single finger. In each instance, the intention of this motif remains ambiguous; does it mean to draw attention towards the works’ materiality, or describe a pictorial quality which refers to some illusory sense of shape, weight, or depth on a two-dimensional plane? Could it be intimating both at once? Natalie Lavelle’s latest exhibition, Pictorial Space, ventures to respond to these questions with a variety of small-scale acrylic works on board and linen, each testing the boundaries between their pictorial and physical capacities.  

Excerpt of exhibition essay by Zali Matthews

(click to enlarge)