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Tom Howse: Pigeon Grass Mallard Palace

2021. 5. 29 - 2021. 7. 11

Opening: 6-9 pm, May 29, 2021

LINSEED Projects is delighted to present the solo exhibition of British artist Tom Howse, Pigeon Grass Mallard Palace. It is the first show of the artist in China and Asia, presenting a series of new paintings created by the artist from the perspectives of the landscape, species, and human figures, in the introspection and reflection of the current global condition. The exhibition will open on May 29, 2021, at the Jin Mansion, a historic residential building with a hundred years of history, at 549 North Shaanxi Road, Shanghai. The exhibition will be on view till July 11, 2021.


Howse’s works display calm, beautiful scenes of interior domesticity alongside vibrant and textural visions of landscapes and the natural world, portraying people, animals and weird yet wonderful plants in an endless range of shapes and sizes. We see wood-grained furniture and windows looking outwards, connecting the two realms. Notably, within these settings, it is never certain which aspects attempt to depict reality or fiction. The scenes are often abnormally calm, jarring the viewer’s capability to determine where reality ends and the fantasy begins. The instances of windows signify a device to connect or escape from one reality to another, allowing the viewers to perceive an image within an image, an alternate plane of reality situated within the paintings.


While viewing Howse’s work, it can sometimes feel as though the veil of reality could be drawn back at any moment, leaving fantasy in its place. We see many approaches to other worlds and parallel dimensions in film and literature, science fiction, and science fact. The tropes of these alternate universes often employ the navigation of space and time to visit strange new worlds. However, within Howse’s paintings, we can still encounter these fantasies but through more intimate and private visions.


There is a distinctive language to the forms in the works of Howse – the shapes of the plants, the branches of the trees, the arms of the figures, or the bending of a swan’s neck. They all possess a fluency in their drawing; it is a quality that brings together connections and references from a range of different contexts; some of them come from art history, folk and outsider art, and craft traditions such as pottery and quilt making, cave art, and cultural artefacts. Ancient art forms are some of the earliest examples of human expression and help explain our origins and evolution; from cave art of the Neolithic to tapestries and quilts, humankind has always told stories to remember and record and to enquire about the experience of humanity.


An essential part of his work is the investigation of human behaviour through an anthropological lens – our needs, emotions, irrationality, beauty, silliness, and vulnerability. We are complex creatures fraught with conflict; we search for meaning and to understand our place, examine our evolutionary journey and our struggles to comprehend our improbable existence. With the current world filled with uncertainties, we explore and seek possibilities against the current through contemplation and retrospection; yet the focus within Howse’s figures is one of joy and optimism. There is a strong sense of tenderness and compassion towards the figures and how they interact, whether toward one another or to the natural world in which they reside.

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