Becky Kolsrud, ‘Allegorical Nude (Double Reflection)’, 2018, Oil on canvas, 101.6 x 81.3cm (40 x 32in)

In February 2019, London’s Stephen Friedman Gallery will bring together a group exhibition of international female artists who are currently shaping the language of figuration: Heidi Hahn, Donna Huddleston, Becky Kolsrud, Naudline Pierre, Mathilde Rosier and Antonia Showering. The works in the exhibition explore how each artist taps into the ethereal realms of fantasy, dreams and the unconscious mind to contest preconceived notions of gender and identity.

Introspective and brooding, Heidi Hahn’s paintings explore the psychological underpinnings of femininity. Adopting the isolated confines of the picture plane to challenge traditional concepts of what it means to be a woman, Hahn’s melancholy figures occupy a world far removed from reality.

Fantasy and rituals of performance are recurring themes in Donna Huddleston’s all-female dreamscapes. Using ethereal pastel tones, Huddleston’s large-scale works on paper explore alternative realities imbued with connotations of magic and illusion.

Becky Kolsrud’s surreal, compressed figures occupy a space of fantasy, testing conventional ideas about how the female nude can be implemented as a form of allegory; engaging with historical depictions of the surreal, reclining bodies are scaled up and become synthesised with mountain ranges and vast, azure lakes.

Co-opting spiritual and religious iconography, Naudline Pierre’s vivid paintings act as portals into unearthly realms. Set against apocalyptic backgrounds, the artist depicts haunting interactions between ethereal beings to explore primal expressions of intimacy.

Mathilde Rosier’s ethereal paintings depict weightless, hybrid figures undergoing bodily acts of transformation. Exploring the psychological and physical experiences connected with ancient rituals, her works allow viewers to lose their perception of time and space by offering an alternate, otherworldly dimension.

Antonia Showering’s work, meanwhile, engages with the fragility and ephemeral nature of memory. Imbued with a sense of the uncanny, her ghostly recollections of family gatherings are depicted with a transitory quality as if just on the cusp of being forgotten.

Out of the World launches in February 2019 at the Stephen Friedman Gallery in London. To find out more, visit www.stephenfriedman.com.

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