Lee Essex Doyle’s mastery of light, color, and pattern is on full display in her latest series of mixed media paintings, Dancing on the Ceiling. These luminous paintings depict jewel-like lanterns and radiant chandeliers – architectural details drawn from her extensive travels across India, Africa, and Europe. Doyle deftly captures the play of light and shadow across richly patterned surfaces, blurring the line between representation and abstraction to dazzling effect.

As with Doyle’s earlier series, the works in Dancing on the Ceiling are drawn from her frequent and far-flung travels. Inspired by the art and culture of each new location, Doyle combines architectural elements, ornate design motifs, and vibrant color to evoke an authentic sense of place. The focused subject of Doyle’s most recent work further highlights her remarkable ability to fix the impression of a particular location using only small details. Here Doyle distills the essence of a place down to its most basic elements: light, color, and pattern.

In Dancing on the Ceiling, brilliant light fixtures cast intricate patterns of light and shadow across the ceilings they adorn. The heightened contrast of radiant light increases the visual perception of line and shape. Doyle’s layered arrangements of light and shadow merge with architectural ornamentation and design motifs to push her paintings further into abstraction than she has yet ventured. At times, the physical light fixtures appear almost obliterated by their brilliance. The resulting paintings offer a dazzling array of vibrant hues and tessellations, pushing the limits between representation and abstraction.

Doyle employs a variety of media and processes in the execution of these new works. First, she snaps a photograph of eye-catching patterns and chandeliers spotted during her travels. The captured images are then digitally combined and printed at an enlarged size. Doyle builds atop this ‘footprint’ image with ink, watercolor, colored pencil, and oil pastel, layering the different materials to achieve an ethereal luminosity amidst a background of jewel-toned decorative arrangements. Lee Essex Doyle: Dancing on the Ceiling is a colorful romp around the globe, exploring space through the unconventional manner of simply looking up and observing details often overlooked.