Des Edwards: Leila Ghandi

Leila Ghandi’s work is an intimate partnership of image and physical presence. The floor and wall pieces of her graduation show call attention to their material and facture, and although they are all primarily flat, they work as objects as well as images. She follows in the footsteps of Eva Hesse in producing work that is both painterly and sculptural and, like Hesse, she makes much use of latex. In Ghandi’s case the latex is used to enfold and secrete found objects and personal photographs within translucent textured veils that, overall, evoke a feeling of organic fullness and complexity.

Some of the imagery is reminiscent of medical adhesions – the fibrous bands that glue organ tissues together in the aftermath of trauma. This has not come about by accident, but neither is it a wilfully wrought illusion. It arises naturally from the artist’s intuitive use of layering, adhesion and cohesion; working practices that are directly analogous to natural processes at work in living tissue. We are left with imagery that is more visceral than superficially appealing, and more dependent on allusion than illusion. By contrast, other images are gentler on the imagination, more fabric-like, albeit fabric that is worn and distressed. In all the pieces, high gloss resin coats the work, embedding each piece in a sort of clarified amber to preserve a new and unique configuration of world-in-self, a new Deleuzian multiplicity.

Ghandi sees her work as a conversation between objects and self. She speaks of slowly growing along with her themes and ingredients for days and weeks, and it shows in the richness of the pieces. We are left with the impression that she uses her workspace as a crucible to enclose materials and memories, heating them up in an alchemy of personal discovery and creation. She also speaks of affordances, a term that encapsulates the appeal of her show, for this is work that affords a rich space of possibilities without compelling or cajoling us into a specific interpretation.

Written by Des Edwards

Des Edwards is an artist living and working in Bangor, Co. Down.