Lexicon of creatureliness


Alice Maher on Leonora Carrington.

Leonora Carrington scavenges amongst the iconography, cultures and beliefs of the whole human race it seems. Egypt and Abyssinia, Mexico, England and Ireland, France, Greece, Italy, Art History, Alchemy, Astrology, Occultism, Religion; the World story and Her story.

And like the other great women painters and their shield images which we managed to squirrel out of unofficial art history in the eighties – Dorothea Tanning with her giant sunflowers; Paula Modersohn Becher with her amber beads; Remedios Varo with her turning wheels; and Frida Kahlo with her tears – Leonora Carrington with her hyena has at last come to the Grand Table of Art History in this country with this museum show. And it is with absolute joy that we come to gorge upon this glut of images, this feast of the imagination of one too long flowering in the desert air.

And though I was unaware of her blood relation to this country, I am not surprised as a practising artist myself, to find many mutual friends amongst her lexicon of creatureliness. I was also unaware of the breadth of her practice, such as bronze, tapestry, stage design, writing, etching. So, here, at last we get to explore the rich embroidered cloth of her lifetime’s work.