The Night Forests of Tuesday Riddell

Cocoons, snails, snakes, birds, and insects populate the still yet intensely alive nightscapes of Tuesday Riddell. There is a glow in her works depicting the nocturnal life, death, and decay of forest creatures. She uses the long-lost technique of japanning in her delicate works, also often incorporating gold leaf and silver powder. This imparts the ghostly, ethereal feel to the illuminated plants and animals against their velvety black backgrounds. Riddell is inspired by Sottobosco painting, a 17th-century subgenre of still lifes which explored the forest floor and creatures of the undergrowth. The lovely little foxgloves, the sinuous ferns and stems and branches, all exude a subdued, almost phosphorescent light – the lustrous quality of her scenes conveys a sense of the mystery of nature in all its renewals and depredations. All this serves to create a unique effect which makes her lacquered and gold-pigmented paintings immediately recognizable, an impression of stillness teeming with slightly sinister life, as well as a certain flatness which is intriguing and evocative of historical art.

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