Just in time for Halloween, London-based artist Graceland has launched a unique exhibition that is both immersive and virtual, taking us on a journey through an imagined haunted hotel with her dark and vivid coloured artworks on display throughout.
Bringing a unique perspective to the subjects of mental health, lockdown, consumerism and relationships, Graceland is renowned for her sinister aesthetic, and this latest body of work does not disappoint. The paintings on display in the pretend nightmarish hotel include Cwarantine, Comfort Amongst Chaos, and End of the World – their titles alone hinting at the overriding theme.
With a heavy influence of Italian Renaissance and Flemish art, as well as Internet culture, Americana and horror films, Graceland explores scenes of how "human beings consume vices in life to feed inner egos". As she explains, "My work has always included elements of macabre and horror within the narrative. From a young age, I was interested in that subject matter of the unknown. I have always felt the subject offered a sense of escapism that other subject matters couldn't for me growing up. I always enjoyed being taken to places and following stories completely, unlike our own world."
Born in London and based in Hackney Wick, Graceland studied Fine Art and History of Art at Hampstead Fine Arts, London, before going on to do a BA in 3D Digital Design and Animation which influences the technical side of her work. Her overall subject matter examines human consumption. The characters in her artwork depict the fluctuating range of emotions we experience, and in turn, the facades we display to the rest of the world. She has exhibited internationally from Art Basel Miami Beach to collaborations with Camden Council.
For her latest (virtual) exhibition with Maddox Gallery, she decided to call it 'As Above, So Below', based on the events of 2020. "What happens on one level of reality also happens on every other level; the microcosm and macrocosm behave alike," she explains.
"As the viewer walks into the Graceland Motel, I want them to be prepared to see all of life's fears in one go. The desire for a more positive experience is a negative experience. So, let's sit in a negative experience for a moment, when you enter this world, the only way you overcome fear and pain is first to learn how to bear them."
Graceland's As Above, So Below kicks off on 31 October and runs until 20 November 2020 in a VR exhibition, courtesy of the Maddox Gallery. Artistic Director Maeve Doyle says: "Words have rhythm and rhyme full of contradictions and misunderstandings. Graceland's colourful and creative world invites us to suspend the cerebral and surrender to her vivid parallel universe."