C. Lucy R. Whitehead

COLLECTION

Interested in our increasingly fragile relationship with the physical, the body is central in C. Lucy R. Whitehead’s work. She explores this fragility both in the sense of the awareness we have with our own bodies and with the spaces they inhabit. Shifting between various degrees of abstraction, her work ranges from completely fragmented abstract forms to partial figurative human silhouettes. In a recognisable colour palette of dark charcoal and flesh tones, in every degree of abstraction, there is a certain intimate softness present in her work. Lucy holds a BA (Hons) in Drawing at Camberwell College of Arts and is currently finishing an MA in Painting at the RCA.

Usually dedicated to one piece at a time, drawing is a very important component of her process which is never planned beforehand and guided by intuition and design. Usually, she begins a piece with a few rough charcoal lines, like she would have done when working in a sketchbook. Then gradually, from adding in colour, the piece evolves until everything is balanced. In doing so, she states that each work is indicative of her own fluctuating relationship to the body and space at the time of making. 

Coffee Morning 1

SOLD

76 x 57 cm

Soft Pastel on Fine Art Paper

This work includes a certificate of authenticity.
View

Coffee Morning 2

UNAVAILABLE

76 x 57 cm

Soft Pastel on Fine Art Paper

This work includes a certificate of authenticity.
View

‘Explored through varying degrees of abstraction, from fragmented structures of flesh like forms to translucent silhouettes of the human figure, which sink into and mould around the boundaries of the canvas. I tend to work on one painting at a time, working by a process of both intuition and design. In doing so, each work is indicative (albeit in hindsight) of my own fluctuating relationship to the body and space at the time of making.’

Coffee Morning 3

UNAVAILABLE

76 x 57 cm

Soft Pastel on Fine Art Paper

This work includes a certificate of authenticity.
View

Coffee Morning 4

UNAVAILABLE

76 x 57 cm

Soft Pastel on Fine Art Paper

This work includes a certificate of authenticity.
View

These brand new intimate portraits of the Coffee Morning series are part of her most recent work where she reflects on the complications of the female body image and how that is perceived in art and other imagery. Still partially abstract, this series is more figurative than her older work. The fluid lines of these artworks have a certain tenderness and feel very personal and - in a sense - recognisable. Working from memory, the work is partially abstract to retain a sense of ambiguity. This way, the work remains open for the viewers' own assumptions of the subject of the painting. 


As drawing is the common thread that runs throughout her entire practice, every one of her paintings begins with gestural marks, forged in charcoal from memories of the human figure, be it hers or another’s. Both in the planning of the work and in the resolved image. Its immediacy and honesty provide the bridge needed between her subconscious and physical awareness, her mind and body. Through a continuous process of constructing and deconstructing layers, this constellation of marks flow through form and space, blurring the line between interior and exterior. In a sense, the body has a long tradition within the history of art; it’s the oldest subject in painting. Traditional depictions ranged from meticulously detailed portraits to the more loosely painted figurines. But at the turn of the 20th century, artists started to tear up the tradition. The fauvists disregarded accurate representation of colour and the cubists and surrealists shocked viewers in their depiction of mutilated, dismembered, or distorted bodies. Picasso, for example, radically restructured how you can represent reality, which included overthrowing any conventional depiction of human figures. 


But also beyond painting, the body has been a constant artistic theme ever since. A prime example is the body art movement, in which key figures like Ana Mendieta and Carolee Schneemann used their own bodies as artistic material. Ana Mendieta, for example, explores it in relation to nature, and the spiritual connections between them. In, for example, The Untitled: Silueta Series, a project that span over a decade, starting in 1973, she would carve, print or shape her body in the earth to seek out, in her words, that ‘one universal energy which runs through everything: from insect to man, from man to spectre, from spectre to plant, from plant to galaxy’. Lucy brings a contemporary perspective to this traditional genre as she explores the current fragile relationship of the body with the physical.  

Coffee Morning 5

UNAVAILABLE

76 x 57 cm

Soft Pastel on Fine Art Paper

This work includes a certificate of authenticity.
View

Coffee Morning 6

UNAVAILABLE

76 x 57 cm

Soft Pastel on Fine Art Paper

This work includes a certificate of authenticity

View

Lucy holds a BA (Hons) in Drawing at Camberwell College of Arts and is in her final year of the MA Painting programme at Royal College of Art. She is a recipient of the Basil. H. Alkazzi Scholarship 2019-2021. Her work has been exhibited all over London, such as the Pastel Society Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London, and the Multiplied Art Fair, Frieze Art Fair, London.




Follow Lucy on her instagram and website.

Artwork photographs courtesy of Karimah Hassan and Sarabande Foundation. Portraits taken by Alina zum Hebel (website/ instagram). Photography courtesy of where’s the frame? and Alina zum Hebel.



where’s the frame? - ‘PAPER MODE’ is a collection of 6 up and coming London based artists. The collection is available from April 21, 2021, until July 21, 2021.

Want to know more about the artist
or want to be the first to hear about our next collection?

PAPER MODE artists

Kelda Storm  

Sofía Clausse

C. Lucy R. Whitehead

Hannah Shin