Lindsey Bull’s paintings depict a curious cross-section of people – they often seem lonely, melancholy, shy and introverted, as if trying to avoid our gaze or to distance themselves from the world. But they are also often eccentric, gregarious characters who enjoy their subcultural affiliations and live out inner fantasies through their outward appearance – dressing up in unusual clothes or fancy dress, unorthodox hats, over-the-top make-up, way-out hair. It is a bohemian cast, an eclectic community of outsiders and auteurs, interlopers and introverts, waifs and strays, dandies and extroverts.
While Bull is interested in the image, the fashions, the look of such individuals and groups, it is equally their inner lives that she is trying to capture – like an uninvited portrait painter for tortured romantic souls, an observer of those who fall outside the mainstream. A posture, a glance, just a moment captured that gives something away about her subjects’ states of mind, their personalities, their psychologies – these are the momentary revelatory flashes that Bull immortalizes in paint. Such haunting and affecting epiphanies are the interface between the inner and outer lives of her subjects, the intersection of repression and expression, of self and other.
Bull’s naturally modish, lo-fi use of paint is characterised by an edgy ethereality – light and otherworldly, sometimes almost ghostly. This is morose painting with a touch of modern day mysticism, an ode to outsiders, and an unassuming expose of people’s private love of fashion, especially when it is not the kind of fashion to which society wants us to conform.