The Great American Songbook
10/02/24 - 01/03/24






A Solo Exhibition by C. Lucy R. Whitehead
13/10/22 - 19/11/22
Battersea, London

Grove Collective is pleased to present the upcoming exhibition Stranger., a solo exhibition by C. Lucy R. Whitehead, on view at the gallery’s Battersea Space, from October 13th to November 19th, 2022. This marks Whitehead’s fourth exhibition with the gallery, although it is her first solo presentation at Grove Collective.

Thinking back to Whitehead’s last group exhibition with the gallery at their Battersea space earlier this year, A Body of Work, Whitehead examined natural questions about the ability of magnified curvature and tonality as means of interrogating intimacy. Having since built on these ideas through subsequent exhibitions, including a solo presentation with London’s Incubator exhibition series, Whitehead returns in Stranger. with at once a new instalment in response to these initial questions, and a re-articulation of the questions at hand.

This duality exist on two primary levels. Firstly, while the artist’s trademark palette and penchant for colour mixing remains, questions of depth and mass emerge anew. While previous bodies of work have looked to examine bodily forms through their obfuscation and flattening, Whitehead here returns to pictorial “fleshiness” that one might otherwise associate with the human form. Perhaps best understood as a synthesis of the emergent styles Whitehead experimented with upon graduating from her MA at London’s Royal College of Art in 2021, the artist here seems to stake a definitive claim towards a personal style, remaining true to her approach to the body as foremost a physical object. It is in this vein that the significance of the show’s title reveals itself: Stranger., a reference to the Albert Camus book of similar name, invokes a belief in the primacy of the body’s physical form.

Secondly, while sensuality and intimacy remain core themes within Whitehead’s work, she again synthesises previous experimentation through a return to notions of a Kafka-esque absurdity. Not dissimilar from the artist’s turn toward more visceral representations of the body, Whitehead toys with questions of space, returning to the potential for limitation—and by extension, claustrophobia—in the canvas. Using the canvas as a literal spatial limitation, the (in)ability to limit the body’s natural desire for movement and expansion is highlighted, underscored further by the canvas being itself an arbitrary delineation. Always a master at invoking the viewer’s sense of bodily self, Whitehead invites the potential for discomfort; indeed, the line between sensuality and absurdity with regard to our bodily existence is often very thin.

For Grove Collective, this marks the gallery’s first solo exhibition with Whitehead as a represented artist, a long-awaited moment of celebration for both Whitehead and the gallery’s directors. While the exhibition comes at a moment of growth for the gallery, amid a growing roster and exhibitional work beyond its native London, Stranger. remains a testament to Grove Collective’s commitment to London’s most exciting young artists. Moving forward, the gallery hopes this to be the first of many solo exhibitions with Whitehead, both throughout London and across the globe, in years to come.

Additional Installation Images