In The Lost Art of Convalescence Lucy Stein and Andrew Gilbert have joined their intuitive hallucinatory practices together at Gimpel Fils in a collaboration that they describe as a “hospital romance”.
Stein and Gilbert have transformed the downstairs gallery into a cave full of the finest treasure. The title of the exhibition lends itself to the regret of what is lost, or perhaps, what is failed to be achieved. In The Lost Art of Convalescence like the lost gardens of Heligon, the extraordinary emerges from that which had been left abandoned. From the mind in illness, or repose, come dreamy, erotic and exotic paintings and drawings.
Andrew Gilbert identifies himself with the great men of history, his fantastical drawings meditating on the excesses of British Imperialism. Andrew presents himself as Emperor of Africa, Gordon of Khartoum and (the young and attractive) Michael Caine, butchered on the long road to Jerusalem or devoured on the plains of Afghanistan. Nineteenth century Orientalist imagery is re-imagined. Light watercolour sketches of arid landscapes and flowers along the roadside become beautiful dancing partners for Lucy Stein’s works. Lucy, in turn, has used an imagined convalescent home by the sea as a site for many of her recent paintings and drawings. The atmosphere is dreamy, ambiguous but also anxious and ripe with potentiality. In the gleeful spirit of collaboration her characters and vignettes have headed to tropical climes in order to commune with Andrew’s menagerie.