Review By Lesley Chow
“Shivalee Lees deals with the contraction and expansion of space, but her way of affecting our gaze is to constantly shift the surface: she uses velatura to create varying degrees of blur and intensity. Her treatment of the gaze reminds me of the director David Lynch, especially his film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, in which the camera is constantly peering around edges; at one point, a photograph of a dark corner is laid out on a lawn, thus projecting a crack within the calm surface. Lees’ paintings often have Lynch’s hazy sense of suspension, as well as his aura of disturbance: we tend to get the feeling of space narrowing as it moves towards an edge. Many of the works seem like floor plans, or aerial views of confined space. Lees has identified her major themes as safety and voyeurism – an intense sense of looking which turns into a suspicion of being looked at. Her paintings generally fall into two groups: one in which our attention is instantly directed towards a certain area, and the other in which we feel a little more free to make our own paths through the image – although these tend to resemble stark, abandoned cities.”
Lesley Chow is an Australian film writer and arts and fiction writer whose work has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, Salon, Senses of Cinema, and other publications. She writes on Film and Photography for Bright Lights and Photofile.