Two American Artists Reach “Neon Babylon” in Their London Show Exploding with Color

May 4, 2016 5:57PM

At Gallery Elena Shchukina in London, the American abstract painters Kimber Berry and Marie Thibeault combine powers for “Neon Babylon,” their first UK show. Their mixed-media work—including an ironic reliance on plastic—showcases a conversation between the artists as they explore the sometimes troubled connection between society and the natural world.

Berry’s large-scale works, taken from her “Plastic Garden” series, occupy the gallery’s first floor, while Thibeault’s canvases are situated on the lower level. Combining plastics with paint and digital effects, Berry’s dynamic, fluid images radiate a distinct relation to the magical as they draw the viewer in with vibrant colors and chaotic compositions. Television Dreams of Tomorrow (2015–16) sees greens, reds, and purples drifting upward, as if their rhythm continues beyond the canvas into another dimension. The psychedelic patterns and flowing colors chaotically loop and interlink at different intersections, forming surreal landscapes that chart the human psyche as it twists through the natural world.

While Berry brings to life the unconscious and myriad organic forms, Thibeault draws upon the relationship between man-made structures and the impact they have on the environment. She aims to break down her compositions, to create a balance that pursues elements of the sublime. Reflecting the chaos forced upon nature by man-made structures, her images are full of confusion and excess. As in Berry’s work, Fortune (2016) explodes in colorful bursts, though Thibeault’s aggressive geometric lines create a more muddled milieu.

The works of both artists impose upon the viewer a highly intense sensory experience. Though there is a degree of tension between the artists’ varied styles, harmony exists in their admirable mission to understand and convey the tenuous threads tying together nature and mankind.

—Lara Monro

Kimber Berry & Marie Thibeault: Neon Babylon” is on view at Elena Shchukina Gallery, London, Apr. 21–May 26, 2016.

Follow Elena Shchukina Gallery on Artsy.