Andrew Cranston & Johnny Lyons

Ingleby Gallery: Until 28th March

The Ingleby Gallery’s exhibitions are always of a very high standard, and their current effort, which brings together the works of Andrew Cranston and Jonny Lyons, could not be better. Even though the two artists work with two different mediums, Cranston being a painter and Lyons being a performance artist documenting his work in film and photography, their work complements each other as both artists seem to be fascinated by small, innocuous and slightly mischievous stories.

Cranston seems to continually be projecting a claustrophobic persona, enveloped by walls and imposing objects. The figure is often depicted as much smaller than his surroundings and the angles at which they are painted reinforce this uneven battle between humans and space. His works are seductive and portray a slightly forgotten scene, akin to that of a mere memory: did it really happen?

Cranston’s works enter a realm of ethereality that reflects his own personal history and is influenced by his observations of life, a variety of anecdotal scenarios and popular media. By working on hardback book covers using materials such as paint, varnish and collages, Cranston creates substantial layers subject to manipulation throughout the painting process, resulting in an in-depth but unclear story which allows imaginations to run wild.

Whereas Cranston’s works are set in the past and seem to be quite static, Lyons’ works are definitely set in the present. Lyons creates ‘ingenious’ devices ‘that have fulfilled their one and only purpose’. These devices are present at the show alongside the documentation of the event using photographic and cinematic evidence.

Lyons’ work seems to be reflecting on the pressures of adulthood, locating it specifically in a liminal period when young boys do not want to grow up. Lyons’ work could remind the viewer of the existence of a kind of Neverland where queer ideas come into practice and nobody questions misbehavior.

In this double exhibition, the work of the two artists blends seamlessly in collaboration. Cranston’s work focuses more on the conventional and reflects the artists’ introspective qualities whereas Lyons work is more far-fetched and absurdly pleasing to the viewer.

The imagery does not conform to the norms of reality and this is what makes their work unique and beautiful. This exhibition is a must-see if you are interested in painting, photography, sculpture or literature as it has many layers of meaning and interpretation. The works can be seen to be slightly humouristic but they are also imbued with a sense of melancholy and pathos.

Image Credit: Ingleby Gallery/Johnny Lyons

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