London Paint Club

Niru Ratnam – Emma Cousin: Game Face

First floor, 23 Ganton St, Carnaby, London W1F 9BW - (6 October - 27 November 2021)
Emma Cousin, Sardines, 2021, Oil on canvas, 80 x 100 cm, © The Artist, Image Courtesy of Niru Ratnam

Emma Cousin’s new series of works ‘Game Face’ includes paintings titled after such games: ‘Hide and Seek’, ‘Pictionary’ and ‘Snap’ (all works 2021). Each painting shows figures or faces engaged in a discrete system where meaning arises from their actions or the other figures’ reactions. Whilst the titles of the works are recognisable as childhood games, these are not paintings of people playing them. Instead, Cousin’s array of figures and faces, painted life-size, seem to be busy in games of their own making where the rules are esoteric and baffling to the viewer. The figures in ‘Putt Putt’, for example, appear to be passing, inserting and catching marbles in and out of their orifices. The marbles are moving in a circuit, as if, together, they have become a machine that collectively articulates a system. The figures seem to be working something out: a thought, a question or working through the game of language itself. The functions they produce collectively, might be the answer.

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