Secret Life is a retrospective view of Jonathan Horowitz and Elizabeth Peyton’s exhibition at Sadie Coles, London, in the summer of 2012.
It was a unique project; the two artists juxtaposed their distinct practices while also collaborating on joint works for the first time. The exhibition revolved around the broad theme of flowers and plants, and their enduring potential to act as metaphors for the human psyche and mortality.
Through an extensive sequence of paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures and photographs, Horowitz and Peyton delved into the long history of floral symbolism in art and literature.
Many of the works in the exhibition also ranged more broadly around subjects including psychology, interior space and film. In discrete ways, each artist considered flowers or houseplants as emblems of interiority, poised at the threshold between (in Freud’s words) ‘the world of our sensations and the world outside.’
Freud was a significant point of return for Peyton; while Horowitz’s works included a series of paintings of plants whose grisaille schemes look back to the coolly understated cinematography of Gordon Willis in Woody Allen’s film, Interiors (1978).