Tali Lennox “The Ballad of Linda Leven”

Meredith Rosen Gallery

poster for Tali Lennox “The Ballad of Linda Leven”
[Image: Tal iLennox "Beneath Eternities Loom" (2019) oil on canvas, 18 x 14 in.]

This event has ended.

Meredith Rosen Gallery presents The Ballad of Linda Leven, a solo exhibition of new work by Tali Lennox.

Lennox brings us into her world of the perverse and the sublime in a series of new paintings that capture both the personal truths and fictional stories of characters who live their own mythologies. Adorned in costumes, masks and makeup, the figures stand within a sequence of real or imaginary images like those seen in a dream. Each work becomes its own song or ballad. The subjects in Lennox’s paintings are often strangers she approaches on New York City streets. She then meets them a second time one-on-one, where she photographs them to paint from a real-life narrative.

The title of the show is taken from a work in the exhibition, The Ballad of Linda Leven, which tells the real life story of Linda Leven, a 77-year-old aspiring model who came to New York City as a young woman with dreams as a ballerina that didn’t come to light. In the painting, a vampire stands beside her representing the quest for eternity. He holds open a box with a broken porcelain ballerina.

Often drawn to the era of the 1920’s where wildness struck conformity, Lennox depicts another individual, Mr. Burton, a man who currently lives in his childhood home in Ozone Park, Queens as if he is in 1920’s bohemia. While Lennox took a series of photographs of Mr. Burton and herself, they created the fictional character of a sad circus mystic, Karol, whose soul has been destroyed by a life spent reading the fortunes of strangers even though he can’t bring himself to read his own.
In another piece, a carnival girl gazes at the moon, cradling a Coca Cola bottle filled with milk that drips down her body. Her other hand holds a ticking clock signifying the quest against time and the longing to remain in a state of youthful wonder.

The work reflects the style and hedonistic essence of the 1920’s, a post-war era that shook societal boundaries, embracing new liberation and scandalous underworlds, captured by artists such as Brassai and Otto Dix, from whom Lennox takes much inspiration. Similarly she explores American Prohibition and how it swelled with desire for intoxicated pleasure, while the dark remnants of war lingered in the glittering haze. Lennox additionally looks to the work of British portraitist Gerald Brockhurst who was commissioned by society’s elite from the 1920’s onwards. Brockhurst would submerge his figures into moonlit realms, their skin grey and shining, suggesting an eerie melancholia that existed within the young and beautiful of the time.

Throughout the exhibition Lennox suspends her characters in a state of obscurity, ambiguity, and gradual decline. The costumes and masks give both freedom and imprisonment in the quest for selfhood. They can be seen as a portal that illuminates one’s desired state of being. She presents the beauty in living a lonesome reverie and the struggle to fight against the inevitable changes wrought by time. Mimicking her own life, Lennox explores the idea of lightness and darkness both living in the same story, revealing desire, yearning, sadness and pain. Exploring her personal experiences of loss and tragedy, capturing the scenes of a long-gone era allows Lennox to hold on to the remnants of the dead. Conjuring ghosts in a childlike fantasy, as if life and death is all a surreal carnival.

Tali Lennox (b.1993 London, UK) lives and works in New York City. This is her first solo exhibition with Meredith Rosen Gallery and in New York City.



from September 13, 2019 to October 26, 2019

Opening Reception on 2019-09-13 from 18:00 to 20:00


Tali Lennox

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