The Armory Show, New York: Lydia Blakeley & Emma Cousin

8 September - 11 December 2022 

Niru Ratnam exhibited contemporary British painters, Lydia Blakeley and Emma Cousin in the 'Presents' sector for The Armory Show 2022. Both Blakeley and Cousin make work that explores how individuals navigate the world around and construct their identities through identifying with others, fashions, memes and the post-human and digital. 


Emma Cousin makes paintings of figures engaged in what look private games or systems with each other. The figures often form a circuit of some sort as if together the self and the other can become a machine that collectively articulates a system. The paintings speak of a post-human space, where alteration and augmentation allow the subject to create new versions of themselves in order to communicate with the other: "I'm curious about our expectations of our bodies and judgements of other bodies. I'm testing their limits and interested in putting the bodies at risk. They exist in a liminal space which is a place of discomfort, an edge or a boundary." (Emma Cousin, Elephant, 27 June 2018). 


Lydia Blakeley uses a deliberately playful aesthetic to explore how we navigate the world around us, from paintings of viral internet memes through to the arcane world of dog shows. Blakeley uses paint to reflect the present and brings permanence to trends that are fleeting such as leisurewear worn by British young men, suggesting that these passing trends have more impact on nudging the way we live than they are given credit for.