Soho Revue – Amy Steel: We Are The Ones Who Know

Amy Steel, ‘Chorus,’ Oil and Watercolour on canvas, 135 x 90 cm (2022), © The Artist, Image Courtesy of Soho Revue, London

14 April – 30 April, 2022

Soho Revue and Purslane are delighted to have collaborated with Amy Steel on her solo exhibition, ‘We Are The Ones Who Know.’ Steel’s practice combines painting and performance to create expansive, sensual environments where women unravel and viewers are encouraged to explore the limitless potential of female sexulaity and identity. Fascinated by the complex relationship humans have with nature, Steel’s dream-like paintings often feature animals and female body parts melding into the mysterious landscapes in which they inhabit.

Steel borrows from fairy tales, fantasy narratives and magical realism. Science fiction is also a key source of inspiration for Steel due to the nature of the genre, as being inherently critical of the longstanding idea that humans are the centre of the universe. This feeling is expressed throughout the paintings, as the artist imagines vivid scenes where various animals are involved in vibrant and playful activities with one another, anthropomorphic in their nature, bridging the gap of difference between species. Science fiction provides fertile ground for inspiration as it offers up ideas of how we can see our future and the time continuum more generally. In this sense, the exhibition begins with the painting ‘Because I know so Little I grope for More,’ which depicts Japanese macaque (snow monkeys) in a hot spring with breasts. In Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ the opening scene is a depiction of the dawn of man, it shows an ape rapidly becoming human, the film then compresses time and jumps straight to the human in space. This leap was a key inspiration for the structure of the show. We have the beginning and then we leap. What we leap into is a world of sensual connection, complex female sexuality and an interconnectedness to what is non-human.

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