4th September – 2nd October 2021
Colley Ison Gallery
Roxana Halls is one of the UK’s most exciting artists. Using the traditional medium of oil paint, she challenges society’s expectations of women.
In the year when one of her portraits has been acquired by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, we are delighted to be launching Roxana’s brand new collection.
“When I made my first depiction of laughter I felt a rush of recognition that women in paintings rarely had their mouths open, much less smiled and almost never bared their teeth. I realised that if I wished to see it then I would have to paint it.
I can't really remember a time when I didn't observe that most women exercise self-surveillance without even having an awareness that they are doing so....that whatever their impulse was they should learn to suppress it. I suspect most women are not conscious of when they learned to subsume their true instincts but rather when they learned that they could elect to no longer do so.
I’m always thinking about where and how women, more often in collaboration, take up space and disrupt politeness, how they circumvent this impulse of self-control and containment, and in my work I increasingly explore what might happen were the confines of good conduct to fail. I have been researching historical examples of women engaging in violent and disruptive acts, be it vintage and historical gang culture, images of Victorian bad girls, pipe-smoking women from the 30's, Teddy Girls...women getting together in a pack and having an edge of threat and danger about them. In tandem I've been reflecting on the prohibitions which are placed on women within society and the particular kind of opprobrium placed on women who misbehave. I want to paint what happens when they do.“