David Caines, Lindsay Mapes and Caroline Thomson

14 – 19 November 2023

Private View: Tuesday 14 November, 6-9pm

Playground Twist brings together the work of three artists whose work considers themes of childhood and play in all its many guises. Whilst, at first sight, their work seems different in approach and material concerns, notions of ‘childhood’ play an essential role in each of their practices. This exhibition will explore the imprint of childhood upon the adult artist, and the influence of making art alongside – and at times in collaboration with – children. Drawing on their own experiences as parents they explore the observed, experienced, and reflected notions of play and childhood.

The exhibition will consist of paintings by Caroline Thomson and David Caines of varying scale and wall-based sculptures and paintings by Lindsay Mapes. This project will bring into focus the influence of childhood within the field of art, a subject which has frequently been overlooked. The artists’ aim is to reignite some of the lost sensations of wonder, mystery, confusion and anxiety that we feel so strongly discovering the world for the first time. Can we still access those emotions now we are no longer children?

David Caines’ paintings introduce us to a delightfully skewed and malicious cast of monsters, clowns, bears, pixies, trolls, dolls and children. These characters are filled with mirth and with sadness, both haunted and haunting. The paintings flirt with the vernacular of children’s book illustration, and reference art history, popular culture, performance, theatre, and dance. Disinterred objects and images return – reanimated, reassembled and mutated.

Caroline Thomson creates paintings of figures, specifically her children, immersed within a landscape. They are absorbed within their own world. Ideas around play, the nature of imagination and memory are entangled in these enchanted woodland spaces, where the children are the protagonists of their own making. The forest acts as a metaphor for retreat, transformation or the unknown, to create psychologically charged images.

Since artist Lindsay Mapes became a new parent her work has taken a dramatic shift. In a desire to be truthful about the reality of her new life, she has fully embraced the idea of play in relation to her paintings and sculptures. Playing with materials such as clay, glass, paint, mud and hay, Mapes is creating an instinctive body of work that is neither painting nor sculpture, rather an exuberant hybrid.