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by Ilona Szalay

Ilona Szalay's paintings trace a path through a world of conflict and power play, a place of rigid hierarchy and fierce competition. Using a spare, concise visual language the work explores notions of vulnerability and beauty, dominance and submission, violence and control. The work seeks to investigate the tension between protection and control and as a result there is an ambivalence in the images, a questioning of motive/morality, and an examination into our impulses to both create and destroy.


The pictures are permeated with a lonely sense of yearning and a poignant straining towards something infinite. The secrecy (or secret) itself becomes a subject, and a modus operandi,  an inner core to be protected, watchfully, from a hovering menace which resides, perpetually, just outside the frame.

The status quo is maintained through these crude power relationships - subjugation of some, suppression of much - and there is depicted a rough kind of containing, a clumsy cauterising of the imagined, and longed for, whole.



In her most recent work she uses stop motion animation to create free-wheeling narratives of oil paint on glass. These 'moving paintings' exist only in recorded form as each drawing is extinguished to allow room for the next, as such the work is ephemeral and spontaneous, the images dissolving into each other and sliding across the surface of the glass. The pictures tell of metamorphosis, desire, dreams and death.


Ilona Szalay studied at Oxford University (BA) and Byam Shaw, University of the Arts (MA). Her work has been exhibited at numerous London galleries and has recently been selected for the Threadneedle Prize 2012 and the National Open Art Competition 2012.