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Briony Beech - Lockdown Series

Updated: Feb 25, 2021

My creative work includes a mixed media of acrylic, pencil and ink on a heavy weight paper. I experimented with digital illustration but missed being covered head to toe in paint too much!

In 2019 I was radioactive for a few weeks and unable to be closer than two metres to anyone (does this sound familiar?). To pass the time whilst confined to my attic room I began doodling and produced a few little pictures under the title of “Radiation Isolation”.

The paintings that I have produced recently have been during lockdown and aim to show a positive and respectful humour to the dire situation we have globally found ourselves in.

It wasn’t my original intention to use a pandemic as inspiration. When I found myself shielding in Chester during the March 2020 lockdown I returned once again to trying to find some humour in the situation. This was the beginning of The Briony Beech Illustrates and the Lockdown Series.

What I enjoyed seeing during this time were people who created funny content, funny memes about what room to visit this weekend or amusing commentary that really encapsulated the weird old time we were going through. I wanted to add this humour to my paintings.

My mum kindly gifted me a beautiful and expensive dressing gown for Christmas 2019. It is by far the loveliest item of clothing I own. I love so much that I have such a decadent robe and it's for purely sitting at home in. It’s reserved for the joy of laziness, it serves the purpose of making a slow morning warm and bright. I float around my rented flat like a lady of leisure drinking Kenco coffee. The irony of this habit isn’t lost on me and I love the clash of reality contrasting to how I appear to myself in this fantasy!

The bizarre shopping choices I have found myself partaking in in lockdown quickly escalated from pens to the barmy to the down right bonkers. On a quiet Sunday I dangerously logged in to eBay and saw, almost straight away after accidentally searching “Vivienne Westwood 4”, a pair of extravagant, very high, hot pink, Vivienne Westwood, satin heels. These aren’t something I would ever wear or could ever wear so, of course, I bid on them and successfully became their new owner. Now, they’re not entirely unsuitable. I can sit down in them after all.

“Dressed Up to Sit Down”, January 2021

The grateful few we can see and interact with, out of this select group, you, yourself are one of them. Always through a frame and a window of some sort, 365; a mirror or other. A little “who’s looking at who(m)”. Or am I the only one who talks to their animated face on video chat?

The needed break from facetime is when your pets or plants become cemented in the spotlight of your love and attention, a literal captive audience to your tired recycled stories from the “old days of 2019”. Conveniently forgetting that we didn’t really do all that much different BC (before Covid) but I suppose we had the choice to.

In London I have my plants to discuss the days news with, in Chester there was Mrs. Figgs. A shy cat who bores easily from my reminiscing and who runs away from dangerous leaves.

“Chit Chat with your Pets”, January 2021

"Unravelling in the wind" was the first painting I did as a part of the Lockdown Series. She appears to be half bored, half content but safe in her environment. Stuck in time, everyday began to repeat itself with the small group of people inside the shortening and never ending 24 hours.

After painting Unravelling in the Wind I wanted to create something surreal. Lockdown created the most vivid and bizarre dreams. One of which inspired “the Unravelling”.

This is all a very privileged view from the last twelve months, aimed to distract from the piling numbers of people who we’ve lost and the people who have been affected by this rampaging virus. I hope you have a luxurious lounge outfit that you can safely be in and when the time comes that you won’t miss it too much as you relaunch yourself into a safer world.

“Unravelling in the Wind”, June 2020

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