'Life is a Mess' by Anmar Mirza

Since his last show with us, Anmar has created murals around Norwich, starting in its nightclubs. In turn, he was invited to paint the walls of London, in Hoxton Arches, Finsbury Park and Shoreditch. Eventually he was brought to Europe, spending summers creating murals in France, Barcelona, Belgium and Amsterdam.

He also in that time fell ill, which put his life somewhat on hold for a number of years. “There was 6 months of rehabilitation and strength exercises to get my physical health back… then the best day in 3 years. I got to ride my bike - it was like a milestone I never thought would arrive.” The newly reclaimed freedom and simple enjoyment of being outdoors, sat in a field watching the butterflies and bees, led to newfound mental strength also.

“A clouded mind views life through a distorted lens which is fuelled by emotion and made up narratives. This body of work is broken into fragments of memories and emotions, which ultimately led to a sense of clarity and freedom. Some parts are chaotic and messy, while others are soft and fuzzy, and some aren't about the individual at all. Life is a mess.”

There have since been more and more of these moments, the outdoors often bringing solace, and this exhibition captures the rollercoaster of this period in its different stages. The recurring eyes take us through the various emotions; anxiety, weakness, serenity. They’re often inconspicuous, sometimes menacing, peering from the background, or adding vulnerability to luscious and warm pink canvases.

Yellow and pink floral foregrounds steadily dissolve fainter into amorphous abstraction, blurring the horizon and blending what could be skies and fields. A suggestion of a figure moves through it all, with sprayed black mist spreading from where the head should be, dispersing like the cloud of stench from a stink bomb.

The figure appears again, this time with a less sombre and more tumultuous energy. Frenzied swirls make up its bulk with colour combinations capturing feeling rather than a likeness. There’s emotion in these paintings, yes, but also an absence. Bodily forms hint at character without ever giving too much away.