Patricia sits on a wooden chair in the sunlit ground-floor of the Zebra One gallery in Hampstead, London. Gucci spectacles are buried into her straw-red hair, which falls down as far as the shoulders of her powder blue coat. She points to a painting that’s standing on the floor. This one, she explains, is the work of Ria Pratt.
It’s one of the four paintings that Patricia brought in from her home in Croydon to show me. It’s a disquieting piece, brightly coloured, a fuscia figure on a turquoise background. It depicts a young woman with her hands and feet bound, chained to a wall, hunched.
In the top right of the canvas, there’s a faded recreation of the figure, like a stamped impression; to its left is an inscription scrawled backwards in white, as though it’s been cut into the paint: “FREE ME PLEASE HELP.”
Ria Pratt, Patricia says, has spoken about her work before. “What she’s said is, especially with child abuse, people actually – especially years ago – turned a blind eye. It didn’t happen, you know. And I think by using the bright colours, you can’t miss it.”
Patricia thinks about this carefully, taking a moment to stare at the painting in silence before turning back towards me and saying in her throaty south London accent: “I think that is one of the reasons that she has been doing it.”
Though Patricia and Ria have never met, they both occupy the body of the 56-year-old artist Kim Noble, whose work will be exhibited alongside pieces by Salvador Dali, Charlie and Eddie Proudfoot, and Gerry Laffy as part of Zebra One’s forthcoming exhibition, With Art in Mind, opening in November.