G.L. Brierley’s paintings are abstract yet anatomical, precious while also grotesque. Deft displays of painterly ability, Brierley’s canvases hover in an ambiguous space, all while triggering reactions both sensual and intellectual.
She explores obsession and fetishism; both in the close attention paid to the act of creation, as well as in the vague compound figures constructed. The surfaces of Brierley’s paintings are intensely textured; paint embodies its materiality to its full potential. It is delicately brushed, spattered, poured, caked on, and allowed to bubble, wrinkle and react. There are moments in the artist’s works that astonish: textures so delicate, that seem impossible. If only for her mastery of oil on wood, Brierley’s work would be a source of endless examination and awe.
Yet, the British painter transports the viewer to another level beyond the material, to a fantastical cabinet of curiosities, filled with utterly strange and bewitching shapes. Details can be anatomical or sexual yet the entire object always remains out of reach. They seem to be complicated amalgams that ultimately rest in their monstrosity. Referencing the extreme plays of light and dark of Caravaggio, Brierley brings a jewel-like opulence to her figures in juxtaposition of extreme dark and focus. Between admiration and recoil, the viewer constantly negotiates the multiple readings of the works.