Lucy Bull - Modern & Contemporary Art Evening Sale Hong Kong Friday, May 31, 2024 | Phillips
  • “It's more about psychic energy than anything. I allow myself to get lost in the making of the paintings, which allows me time to enter this sort of fugue state and get lost in the sauce. It can be so tempting to take it further, because you can always just keep going, opening up new avenues of exploration.”
    — Lucy Bull
    Lucy Bull’s practice is one that reflects the visceral experience of colour and form, engaging with an abstract colour palette, evoking a response that is more sensory than rational. Her works, rich in chromatic complexity, invite viewers to a realm of visual meditation, where the act of viewing becomes an experience in itself. Claps Jaw shines as a strikingly vibrant example of the artist’s profound dedication to abstraction and the exploration of colours, in which her canvas transforms into a captivating realm of visual stimuli, eliciting a mesmerising interplay with the senses.



    Detail of the present lot

    An Enigmatic Oasis

    The present work instantaneously draws one into the untamed depths of a lush wilderness. As the title suggests, a jaw clap is usually perceived as an aggressive signal made by animals to ward off danger and establish territorial boundaries. Lucy Bull has created a symphony of motion and intensity to draw the viewer into a visual feast, reminiscent of the expansive wilderness oasis of untamed and unspoiled natural beauty. The colours appear to be in a constant state of flux, akin to mesmerising kaleidoscopic patterns that effortlessly dance and shift before our eyes. The opulent greens, and chartreuse yellows intertwine with deliberate strokes of mahogany and tantalising hints of peacock blue, creating a dynamic dimension that defies static interpretations. The landscape unfolds in Claps Jaw, where Bull conjures up an imaginary world of dense forests with towering trees and a rich variety of flora and fauna, with majestic mountains piercing the sky and pristine lakes and rivers meandering throughout. Each brushstroke, meticulously choreographed, adds to the captivating allure of Claps Jaw. Just like the enchanting wilderness, the present work exudes an awe-inspiring enigma with Bull’s mastery of colours and forms, evoking a raw power that resonates deep within.


    A Symphony of Colours

    “I am a representational painter, but not a painter of appearances. I paint representational pictures of emotional situations.”
    — Lucy Bull
    Delving into the realm of emotional expressions, one cannot help but be reminded of the captivating spirit of the Lyrical Abstraction movement. This artistic endeavour sought to encapsulate the raw spontaneity of  artists’ emotions and gestures, infusing each brushstroke with a profound sense of vitality and unrestrained creative energy. Like the works of Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell, the artist prioritises emotional intensity over figurative accuracy. The gestural brushwork and the richness of the visual field can draw a parallel with the Abstract Expressionists, who embraced the canvas as an arena to act upon. As witnessed in Joan Mitchell’s Grandes Carrières, her treatment of the intense colours, gestural brushstrokes, and the mystifying dimensions on the canvas are all well echoed in the work of Lucy Bull. The rich tapestry of blues, reds, greens, and yellows are masterfully orchestrated, evoking a sense of liberated spirituality. The colours dance harmoniously and mirror the boundless freedom of the human spirit.


    Joan Mitchell, Grandes Carrières, circa 1962, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Image/Artwork: © Estate of Joan Mitchell


    A Transcendent Journey through Time


    “Film is probably what inspires me most. It’s my biggest hobby. It’s also my favorite thinking space. I love going to the movies and being in a crowd of strangers with the lights out, surrounded by color. Afterwards, I always have so many ideas- usually intangible sensations that I want to explore. The mere attempt to translate those fleeting sensations can be a starting point for me.”
    — Lucy Bull

    The uniqueness of Claps Jaw lies in its ability to partake in an enthralling “timed release” of visual experiences. Much like how a film unfolds over time, with its narrative revealed gradually, Claps Jaw slowly unveils its profound depth and intricate complexity, unfurling all sorts of associations the longer one gazes upon its mesmerising details. This temporal element in Bull’s work holds utmost significance as it beckons the true essence of the piece to be discovered not in a passing glance, but through prolonged and sustained engagement. She creates a possibility in which her painting morphs and transforms through the colour and also the mark making, with all the repetition beginning to act like fractals so that one gets lost in the static texture. In this immersive interaction, the viewer transcends the role of a mere observer and becomes an active participant, continuously being welcomed into the ever-unfolding narrative of the work. Similar to how psychedelics open up a different part of one’s brain, Lucy Bull’s sonic landscape like Claps Jaw opens up a myriad of sensory experiences that explores the unknown.



    Collector’s Digest


    Lucy Bull, born in New York in 1990 and currently resides in Los Angeles, emerged as one of the rising figures in the world of contemporary art. After earning her BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012, her paintings have been sought after for their ebullient and psychedelic qualities. Her creations recall the likes of Surrealistic landscapes, loose brushwork in opaque, unrealistic combinations, apparently products of a process-based meditation between impulse decision and proposed thinking. Recently, she had a solo exhibition at the Long Museum Shanghai, with Venus World, Jun.-Aug. 2023. Her work was also featured in the NGV Triennial at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne in 2023. Bull’s paintings reside in numerous institutional collections, including MAMCO Geneva, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, among others.






    • Provenance

      Air de Paris, Paris
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Paris, Air de Paris, El oro de los tigres, 12 January–14 March, 2020


Claps Jaw

signed with the artist's initials and dated 'LB '19' on the reverse
oil on canvas
82 x 126 cm. (32 1/4 x 49 5/8 in.)
Painted in 2019.

Full Cataloguing

HK$2,800,000 - 3,500,000 

Sold for HK$3,556,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2027

Modern & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 31 May 2024