Beatrice Lettice Boyle — Maenad

Two seemingly disparate elements, a figure from Bacchanalian Scene, a painting by Richard Dadd from 1862 which hangs in Tate Britain, and the actress Shelley Duvall. The central figure in the Dadd painting is a Maenad, perhaps the spirit of the Maenad is embodied by many of Duvall’s various roles throughout her career. Here two images of Duvall, in faux medieval garb in a still from the 1981 film Time Bandits and a press shot from the 1970s, reveal a manic grin.

The Maenad and Shelley Duvall are recurring motifs in Boyle’s work. The third recurring motif here is foliage, vine leaves, grapes, blades of grass, ears of corn... from the background of Bacchanalian Scene; in past work pumpkins, an olive branch or a fig leaf.

Beatrice Lettice Boyle is interested in Shelley Duvall, bumper stickers, the seven dwarfs, The Bum in Mulholland Drive, choosing fabric and the seam between things. Recent work has appropriated imagery from 18th century Shunsho woodblock prints, a 16th century painting of the crucifixion attributed to Bosch, 16th century Brueghel landscapes and Disney’s 1937 Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. In Boyle’s installations the references which span eras and high/lo culture exist on a simultaneous plane.


1st Floor, Whiteleys,
Queensway, London,
W2 4YN


Private view: 18th October
18th October ­— 11th November
by appointment only