PREVIEW: Ally McIntyre ‘The Sun Popped’ Opening Tonight at CNB Gallery

After winning last year’s prestigious HIX Award, Canadian emerging painter, Ally McIntyre, is back in London with a solo exhibition at CNB Gallery.

The Sun Poppped, which opens 25 May, challenges the age old concept that there can be a ‘perfect’ in painting, blending traditional genres, iconographies and artistic processes to create an alternative mythology in a new painterly age.

Ally McIntyre, Robespierre, 2016  © Ally McIntyre. Courtesy the artist and CNB Gallery.jpg
Ally McIntyre, Robespierre, 2016 c. Ally McIntyre. Courtesy of the artist and CNB Gallery

The paintings on view present an alternative to traditional heliocentric (male/patriarchal) worship, instead making nature, animals and the cosmos the receivers of praise and the central figures of faith. And whilst the theme and vibe of the work itself is very much mythological, it strongly alludes to the contemporary feminism, as well as the protection of nature and animals.

CNB Gallery director, Rebecca Lidert, says of Ally’s work, “Experiencing Ally’s paintings you understand what a confident painter she is. Her work is empowering. Her visual language has the conviction of a well accomplished artist. Her use of colour and composition are unusual, unique and bold.’

Ally used a mix of acrylic, glitter and spray paint to create the ten paintings for the exhibition, which range from small to large-scale canvases.

7. Reclining Eclipse, 2016 © Ally McIntyre. Courtesy the artist and CNB Gallery.jpg
Reclining Eclipse, 2016 c. Ally McIntyre. Courtesy of the artist and CNB Gallery.

We had the chance to speak with Ally about the work as well as her beginnings in art and what lies ahead.

ArtAttack: What is your first memory of creating art and when/how did you decide to pursue art as your career?

Ally McIntyreMy first memory of creating art is attempting a copy of the cartoon Sailor Moon for a neighbour friend around five years old. In my teenage years my passion for art-making began to develop naturally. When I couldn’t sleep at night, I would make art in my bedroom and attempt small scale paintings on wood. I knew then that art was going to be a life-long pursuit. 

AA: Your work for The Sun Popped has an element of the ‘mythological’ in it — animals, hybrids, the sun and moon as beings — yet at the same time it expresses quite contemporary feminist issues. What was the reason behind this choice — using nature, animals and mysticism to allude to present day society?

AMWhen I would examine historical painting, it was always the animals, such as the faithful dog, or the horse with a look of sheer terror amidst a war scene that I found most haunting. The depiction of animals and nature in art led me to research the history of our present hierarchies and how they developed over time. The imbalance caused by these power structures seems best remedied by intersectional feminism, in their goal of reversing and dismantling these established hierarchies.

In this work, I desired to depict a world where nature and animals are once again god-like and the role of humanity is in flux. The mythological and the cosmic has allowed me to create a story and play around with symbols and the communication between elements/beings in ways that take these subjects out of their everyday context. I elevate the importance of the animal and nature, because the threat of losing it all seems more tangible every day. 

4. The Sun Popped, 2016 © Ally McIntyre. Courtesy the artist and CNB Gallery.jpg .jpg
The Sun Popped, 2016 c. Ally McIntyre. Courtesy of the artist and CNB Gallery.

AA: Do you have a favourite painting in the exhibition and  if so, why is it your favourite?

AMThe painting I am most precious about is bbb. I used my own feet for reference in that work, where I was standing outside the studio amongst various wildflowers and so many bees! That was the last painting I made so it has sentimental value for me as a conclusion to the show.

Ally McIntyre, BBB, 2016 © Ally McIntyre. Courtesy the artist and CNB Gallery.jpg
Ally McIntyre, BBB, 2016 c. Ally McIntyre. Courtesy of the artist and CNB Gallery

AA: How has your life changed, if at all, since winning the HIX Award in 2015?

AMWinning the HIX Award has been surreal. To be acknowledged and rewarded by judges such as Tracey Emin, and given the opportunity and support to showcase a new body of work has given me the chance to keep expressing myself and focus on doing what I love. 

AA: Any upcoming projects you can share with us?

AMI will be keeping very busy in the studio, including a collaboration which I am itching to start on, with artist Ingrid Berthon-Moine.

– India Irving

The Sun Popped will be on view at CNB Gallery from 25 May – 10 July, 2016; Private View: 24 May 6:30-8:30PM; 32 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3LX; Admission: FREE

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