Chris Humphreys' strangely beautiful paintings depict that misty area in which nature gets caught up between fantasy and reality. His first solo show Woodland Chicken World at Transition Gallery, enhances this sense of mystery with a touch of exotic orientalism to give his new paintings of common or garden birds an aristocratic grace.
Influenced by Chinoiserie, a centuries-old decorative style based on highly embellished and exaggerated Chinese design, Humphreys' sets his birds in an intricate, ornamental world of paint. Chinoiserie has an element of the homemade about it in its often misinformed imitation, giving it not only an element of the absurd but also an attitude towards borrowing and history, which is pertinent to Humphrey's practice.
Meanwhile Humphreys' humble chickens freed from their restrictive pens and given a sense of elegance and dignity in their new gallery location take on a level of art seriousness where the birds, the paint and the decoration are all brought to the same level of heightened reality.
As part of our Ask the Expert Series there will be a talk about Chinoiserie by Gill Saunders of the V&A on Monday 11 th December at 7pm. This is a free event, no booking necessary.
Humphreys and Gill Saunders are both featured in the new Garageland Magazine, which is themed around nature.