earth sky body
17 September - 14 November 2015
Moyna Flannigan's paintings are of singular female figures, perhaps a more accurate description than the common noun 'women'. Their single or grouped presence, in a barren, darkened landscape is as a solitary or multiple set of sculptural icons, reminding us of Giacometti and like his bronzes, Flannigan's figures are materially present to the viewer. The skilful execution of their barren settings matches that of the figures and recalls the sparse, but intentionally precise settings for productions of Samuel Beckett plays. Not a single brushstroke is wasted. The artist refers to Beckett 'paring down language and content' and she, too, achieves this distillation with exemplary assurance.
Flannigan's figures are often sensual, bordering on the erotic. There is an interplay of signals, with limbs, breasts, arched positions, gazing faces compelling the viewer to a reflection that s/he might hesitate in pursuing. What, for instance is occurring in Hold onto your structure? One arm is flung out, fingers splayed, in open contrast to the other, which disappears ambiguously into the 'structure'. Other figures, as in Memphis, maintain a firm distance from the viewer and if the subjects, in their confident couture, hint at a Gothic turn, the ever-present barren setting conceals from the viewer any easy reading of their intent.
Moyna Flannigan was born in Scotland in 1963 and lives in Edinburgh. She took her MFA at Yale University Art School and has exhibited widely. Her solo shows include The British School at Rome; Sara Meltzer Gallery, New York; Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow.