Kerry Darlington - The Alice in Wonderland Collection Continues.....
A Mad Tea-Party - Kerry Darlington's Latest Work
As the flagship dealer of Kerry Darlington, it is with great excitement that Wyecliffe Galleries announces the launch of the next instalment in this exceptional portfolio. An extravagant symposium collapsing chapters and time, A Mad Tea Party revisits one of the most emblematic scenes in literary history. The accomplished original painting, bursting with detail and talent, alongside a rare compositional pencil sketch will also arrive on the market to the delight and anticipation of collectors. The piece sees Alice seated head of the tea party table as a strong figure, a young woman who is at ease with the surreal nature of her surroundings. A fascinating evolution, it is hard not to draw comparison to Darlington’s earliest Alice in the acclaimed first edition Mad Hatters Tea Party, displaying a younger and delightfully naïve character. This image perfectly describes the growth of the artist and her subject; it suggests the inseparable nature of Kerry and Alice. Smiling sweetly, to her right the little girl has the White Rabbit clutching his oversized pocket watch pointing towards its face where numbers have been replaced with letters, boldly claiming Times Does Not Exist. The Mad Hatter is engaged in amused conversation with a spindly wristed King of Hearts who sits opposite his fierce wife. Pondering a jammy dodger, the infamous Queen of Hearts raises her eyes to heaven, perhaps interested in her position in the scene.
Combining the characters Alice meets across the novel, the piece confuses chapters and time (perhaps a nod to the White Rabbit’s watch), and creates an opportunity for a wildly fun yet fraught set of guests. The combination across the table is as hilarious as it is strange; the Mad Hatter demanding for everyone to ‘move along, move along’ and the Dormouse sleepily chanting ‘Twinkle Twinkle’. The Cheshire Cat intently observes from above, surveying the events below, his smile as menacing as it is wide. Humpty Dumpty, originally seen in Happy Unbirthday To You casually stirs a cup of tea. One of the most magical elements of Darlington’s works is the hidden references that are only found by the gaze of a genuine collector who immerses themselves in her visual vocabulary. Placed amongst the spread on the patchwork tablecloth are replicas from her early series of Bird Pot and Cat Pot original works; stylish geometric shapes revealed abstract animal outlines in vessel pottery form. A little glimmer of Darlington’s sass can be found in the bubble-gum jar labelled ‘Philosopher’s Stones’ - evidence of the artists love of JK Rowling’s masterful creation Harry Potter. Starting often with the words of others, Darlington creates painted pictures of some of the most recognised and beloved stories ever told.
If previous trends from this series, as well as recent sell out editions such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz are to be followed, the edition is set to be one of the fastest acquired editions of Kerry Darlington’s career to date.
Kerry Darlington's Alice in Wonderland Series - The Beginning...
It's truly hard to underestimate the importance of Kerry Darlington’s seminal collection of unique limited editions in the series of Alice in Wonderland. Following years of dedicated exploration in the illustrative and fine art creative fields, covering influences from the autumnal heart of nature to Gustaf Klimt’s heady Viennese opulence, a new genre was born. For those collectors who had known Darlington for the adorned branches of her Tree of Life works and evolved detailed ancient trees cast with faeries, Mad Hatters Tea Party was a significant and dramatic leap away from precedent.
One of the very first unique limited edition works produced in three dimensional technicolour resin coated splendour and casually known to die-hard collectors these days as just Mad Hatters was momentous in a dozen different ways. The pioneer of use of resin in art, the gloss sheen sealed in the merging of Lewis Carroll’s iconic nonsense literary sensation with the modernity of contemporary crockery and Disney references. Alive with personality, it is the first time we meet Darlington’s version of our daring adventurer Alice. Wide eyed and blonde bobbed, she delicately handles a teacup whilst surrounded by notable characters the March Hare, Dormouse and Mad Hatter himself. Stolen from other chapters, the Caterpillar sucks dreamily on his hookah, Cheshire Cat slinks in the tree grinning forebodingly and the White Rabbit clutches his pocket watch anxiously eyeing the time. The piece inspired Wyecliffe Galleries 2015 solo exhibition with the artist, the Mad Hatters dining table was made real in the epic double height studio at the Weybridge showroom.
This first piece was an instant sell out and the artist established herself as a natural and charming visual storyteller in contemporary times. Alternative worlds and distracting fantasies have long compelled Darlington to produce artwork which encourages idle daydreaming into other worlds. The idea of possibility and vast other universes underpins the love the artist has for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Convention, etiquette and even scientific law are disregarded in one fell swoop; a pool of tears can form merely from little girls’ lost woe, and lizards can be chimney sweeps. A wealth of riddles and babble, the artist has re-visited episodes from her favourite story at intervals over the past decade, each original demonstrating more technique, more colour, more spirit.
Referencing lesser known chapters from within the books (and singalong songs from Disney’s animated cartoon), A Happy Unbirthday features a curious Alice encountering Humpty Dumpty accompanied by the mischievous Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. Serenaded by the flowers of Wonderland who at first appear beautiful but reveal themselves to be cruel to strangers; their presence is a subtle reminder of morality enforced by the presence of the allegorical strong lion and magical purity of the white unicorn. Alice Meets the Caterpillar introduces Alice at a later stage in her journey bemused and irritated by the puffing larva who questions her name, repeatedly demanding an answer to his prying inquisition ‘Who are you?’ Both works allude to how we treat unfamiliar others, with caution or acceptance. Darlington embraces that our identity is both woven into how we respect outsiders; an interesting concept in the context of the traditionally elitist and guarded fine art arena. One of the artist’s greatest strengths is her ability to transcend culture, generation, language and race – her works are universal and compel those who may have discounted themselves from the enjoyment of art, to want (and feel comfortable) in a gallery, perhaps for the first time.
Since its inception in 2011, the collection has expanded to include new mediums for the artist. Cold cast porcelain gave physical form to Alice and Humpty where the Boutique Pencil Sketch Collection was laced with strokes of colour exposing Darlington’s expertise in illustration as well as acrylic paint and resin. A small kaleidoscopic study of Alice sitting alone at the Mad Hatters Tea Party was accompanied by a sweet portrait of Dorothy from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A kindred spirit; a little girl wishing for the adventure and excitement of other worlds who discovers growing up is not so easy after all. This weaving of fairy tales together, forging links, is a trait Darlington has developed piece by piece. Demonstrated at full capacity in Alice Down the Rabbit Hole, in a single deft composition the artist captures the most iconic and evocative of literary moments scattered with a visual catalogue of references to her own paintings and inspirations. Elegantly suspended mid tumble, Alice is falling through Darlington’s version of a cabinet of curiosities; crammed full, the work is a delightful visual panoply to be explored, with every glance revealing something new. All of the Alice in Wonderland collection of works by Darlington are present, even the title piece itself is featured on an easel in a pleasing infinity set up; paintings within paintings, worlds sitting on top of worlds. One of the Darlington’s most beloved paintings, John Everett Millais’s Ophelia sits magnificently in the top left. Perhaps of personal symbolic importance is the portrait of the Mad Hatter placed central to the drama; a cameo from The Wyecliffe Galleries Director Ben who occupies the face of the character just this once. A long standing trusted friendship between artist and gallerist which has been fundamental to the success of both.
Another collector’s favourite is most recent edition Alice in William Rabbits House in which a startled Alice has grown to such proportion the dwelling struggles to contain her unwieldy limbs. Alice’s obsession with catching the anthropomorphic White Rabbit who scuttles always out of reach crying “I’m late, ‘I’m late!”, rather mirrors Darlington’s own love of empowering animals with human traits. The much desired Wild and Free collection explores themes of woodland creatures in reverence to the power of nature without constraints. In the house of W. Rabbit, Bill the Lizard clambers to the chimney above the action, whilst flying bunnies are cast out of clouds. Two guinea pigs watch in dismay at the intruder Alice, whose human presence isn’t expected, nor welcome.
Forming an important and substantial backbone to her portfolio, the Alice in Wonderland collection by Kerry Darlington is woven into so many works which reach the art market. Original paintings from the published series receive sales figures in excess of £35,000, and unique limited editions are increasingly exchanging hands on the secondary market for several thousands; Artist Proof editions and low numbers fetching even more. With all works being handcrafted and each an individual interpretation of the original, sell out status is enough to secure their future worth.
As the flagship dealer of Kerry Darlington’s work on the primary market, it is with great excitement and privilege that Wyecliffe Galleries can announce that Monday 2nd October 2017 will see the next installment in this exceptional portfolio. An extravagant symposium collapsing chapters and time, the as yet untitled edition revisits one of the most emblematic scenes in literary history. The accomplished original painting bursting with detail and talent, alongside a rare compositional pencil sketch will also arrive on the market to the delight and anticipation of collectors. If previous trends from this series as well as recent sell out editions such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz are to be followed, the edition is set to be one of the fastest acquired editions of Kerry Darlington’s career to date.
One of the most influential artists of her generation Kerry Darlington is an unstoppable force. With the opportunity to pick the edition number of your choice alongside multiple frame options and complimentary week day delivery to the UK mainland, Wyecliffe Galleries invites you to be part of the next chapter in Kerry Darlington’s story; come follow the white rabbit with us.