First Light is a two-person exhibition of paintings by Lewis Brander and Sonya Derviz, 2018 graduate students from Goldsmiths and the Slade School of Fine Art respectively. In the intervening years post-art school, Lewis and Sonya have diligently continued to pursue and advance their painting practices, with Lewis having relocated to Athens and since returned, and with both having stoically weathered the past two pandemic-plagued years. This exhibition, therefore, the first in our 2022 programme at Collective Ending HQ, presents recent paintings that reward the prolonged, in-person viewing of old.
Lewis’ paintings capture fleeting moments and fading memories, approaching sentimentality as a subject matter in and of itself. Representational yet employing an avoidance of defined narratives or dictated interpretations, his blurred and faded depictions of crumbling Greek colonnades, lounging lovers or listless London skies capture a feeling as opposed to a fact. Charged with a deep-rooted love of hand-ground oils and a penchant for pure pigment, Lewis paints on raw linen or canvas to achieve subtle, muted tones and faint, hazy hues that resonate and radiate.
Sonya is a keen observer and documentarian of her own environment, emotions and lived experience. Grounding her artistic practice in the prolific gathering of found imagery, she fervently mines her collected source material, surroundings and own subconscious for inspiration. However, during the physical process of painting, Sonya embraces an innate intuition and inherent instinct for what is needed on the canvas. Imagination inevitable, each painting ends up as an exaggerated, altered or misremembered portrayal of their original influences.