2.6 – 8.7 2023

Madeleine Bialke:Giants in the Dusk

3–5 Swallow St

Madeleine Bialke:Giants in the Dusk

02.06 – 08.07.2023



Monday to Saturday

10:00 am – 5:30 pm


3–5 Swallow St

Huxley-Parlour are delighted to present Giants in the Dusk, the gallery’s second solo presentation by Madeleine Bialke. Comprising nine new large-scale paintings, the exhibition responds to the shifting cultural place of the natural, taking imaginative departure from Bialke’s recent time spent on the Treberfydd estate in rural Wales.

The dusk in the title of the exhibition alludes to the current crisis-fuelled moment: a potential sundown on globalisation, environmental uncertainty and other mechanisms of late capitalism. The gnarled and swollen trees that anchor the exhibition are, too, in the dusks of their lives; some of them entering the last juncture of their long life spans. Many of the trees depicted in the exhibition are Welsh Oaks, which have three three-hundred year phases in their life cycle. ‘Staghead’ depicts an elderly oak that is losing its crown, while ‘Deadheart’ describes a hollowed out oak, whose central core has rotted away.

The titular ‘giants’ not only refer to these grizzled and swollen arboreal bodies, but also suggests something even more ancient – as here Bialke uses the tree as a symbol to consider the place of mythology and storytelling within the landscape. ‘Spider’ depicts a Cedar of Lebanon that, removed from its dryer, warmer homelands has thrived in the dampened soil of Wales, subsequently mushrooming outwards and upwards into enormity. There is something of the physiognomic about Bialke’s Cedar colossus, a motif repeated across the entire suite of paintings. Many of the trees in the exhibition are rendered resolutely anthropomorphic: spindly arms, legs, and even abdominal muscles emerge from the undulating bark. Giants, as described by Hesiod, were creatures born from the droplets of blood as Ouranos was castrated by Cronus. Much like trees, they grew from the bloodstained earth as small seedlings and soaked up the sun, growing slowly as the seasons turned.

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