Delicate Bonds

Xiaochi Dong
Rowley Haynes
Sammi Lynch

21st March – 20th April 2024
Opening 21th March 18:00 – 20:00

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Sammi Lynch, Over Hillsides, 2024,
45 x 55 cm, oil on linen

From the delicate cellular structure of a plant to a bare leg resting on a sheet or the glow of a yellow moon hanging low in the sky; from microscopic to human to cosmic, we experience the vibrations of fleeting affinities at every scale. In Delicate Bonds, Lychee One presents a trio exhibition of new work by Rowley Haynes, Sammi Lynch, and Xiaochi Dong. Working across figuration, landscape, and abstraction, the three artists share an interest in intimacy, light, and colour, coming together in a collection of mysterious and dreamlike images. In these captivating paintings and works on paper, closely observed moments in time are distilled to their emotional and formal essence.

Rowley Haynes, Asos, 2024,
112 x 76 cm (124 x 87.5 cm with frame), Pencil on paper

Viewers are granted unguarded closeness with the subjects of Rowley Haynes’ paintings and drawings, which often depict people in simple private acts such as eating or resting. These transient moments of serenity are nevertheless tinged with a sense of nostalgia or even melancholy, as if recalled at a later time from different circumstances. While the models for these works are often members of Haynes’ family or close friends, their appearance and surroundings also provide the artist with the opportunity to explore the complex and ever-unfolding relationship between light and colour. In one work, the vulnerable soles of the sitter’s bare feet loom in the foreground, their contours carefully delineated with moving tenderness. Here, as elsewhere, Haynes masterfully captures fleeting shadows, whether through thinly applied oil paint or through the variation of texture and line afforded by coloured pencils.

Sammi Lynch’s evocative landscapes are unpopulated, but they often contain anthropomorphic shapes or evidence of human activity such as the furrows of a ploughed field, subtly drawing out the fundamental connections between people and places. The artist begins outdoors, drawing from life with pastels, before using these sketches in the studio as materials to compose her oil paintings. Through observing temporal changes in both the physical qualities of a landscape and in the psychological sensations it evokes, Lynch attempts to reflect lived experiences of environments. She clarifies complex ecosystems into simpler sets of compelling colours, lines, and shapes, recalling the universally recognisable landscapes. This familiarity encourages viewers to find their own narratives and resonances within Lynch’s hazy, saturated images.

Xiaochi Dong, This is how light gets in, 2024,
41.5 x 55.6cm, Ink and volcanic clay on wood panel

Xiaochi Dong similarly creates spaces for viewers to employ their imaginations. With a practice rooted in classical Chinese painting and blending multiple visual traditions, Dong’s tonal monochrome images capture the essence of light and atmosphere. The artist is interested in artificial landscapes at different scales, from botanical gardens to terrariums, and the ways in which human beings attempt to contain and imitate the natural world. Several of his new works are inspired by Derek Jarman’s cottage in Dungeness, where plants are rooted in the shingle among driftwood sculptures and visiting devotees, all equally unrestrained by fences. Dong is interested in how Jarman’s garden breaks away from the traditional rules of gardening, creating a space boundaried only by the horizon in which nature is allowed to flourish freely. Presented on shaped canvases, the works borrow techniques from landscape paintings to zone in on small details until they almost take on the quality of abstraction. The use of monochrome tones is also isolating, creating space between viewer and image, and forging liminal parallels between microcosm and macrocosm.

Through a series of paintings and drawings evoking moods and sensations, this exhibition exudes a peacefulness which is shadowed by a recognition that every passing moment is replete with the power of change. Although at first glance these artists appear to be working across different genres, they are brought together by the reflective nature of their works and by a shared interest in the balance between the personal and the universal.

Text by Anna Souter


About The Artist

Xiaochi Dong (born in 1993,China) Born in 1993, Dong Xiaochi earned a master’s degree from the Royal College of Art in the United Kingdom and currently lives and works in both London and Shanghai. Dong’s artistic practice is deeply rooted in classical Chinese painting while also exploring the experimental logic of contemporary art. His works exhibit harmonious visual elements that seamlessly blend various aesthetic traditions.

Drawing inspiration from artificial landscapes of different scales, including traditional Chinese gardens, botanical gardens, and miniature ecosystems, Dong explores diverse concepts related to simulating, imitating, and compressing nature. His creative endeavors primarily encompass painting and mixed-media pieces. By creating images saturated with hints of light, humidity and atmosphere, Dong aims to give form to contemporary images of nature.

His recent group exhibitions include: Petrichor , 2024, The Shophouse, Hong Kong China; “Enrichment”, 2023, Nan Ke Gallery, Shanghai China; ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair, 2023, Hive Center For Contemporary Art, Shanghai China; “Tender like Asphalt”, 2023, Sherbet Green, London UK; “Gardening on Borrowed Time”, 2023, Studio West, London UK; “Return to Nature”, 2023, Pearl Art Museum, Shanghai China.


Rowley Haynes(born in 1996,UK) graduated from Royal Drawing School London and currently lives and works in London. Haynes usually works on intimate, multi-layered drawings capture personal snapshots: childhood memories, holidays spent camping, time with friends and everyday objects. The scenes are personal yet relatable and are given emotional resonance by Rowley’s accomplished rendering of soft and dappled light. His typical medium – pencil on paper – is a vehicle for capturing moments of nostalgia and tranquility, built up using meticulous layers of colour, which both comfort and challenge the viewer.

In 2023 Rowley Haynes had solo shows both in Seoul(While others only slept, LKIF) and London (Warn Out Warm Blue Skies, Hew Hood Gallery). His recent group exhibitions include: Field of Difference, 2024, Palmer Gallery , London UK; The Way Of All Flesh, 2024, Saatchi Gallery, London UK; Bird Song, 2023, Timothy Taylor, London UK; EVE Present Number Three, 2022, Eve Liebe Gallery, London UK; The Best Of The Drawing Year, 2022, Christie’s, London UK; Open Studio, 2022, Space Studio, London UK; Final Show, 2022, The Royal Drawing School, London UK

Sammi Lynch( born in 1995, UK) is a graduate of the Royal Drawing School whose work explores notions of place and memory and uses the natural world as a cypher for human nature and emotion. Her practice begins withdrawing from life with pastels, these drawings then serve as material for working in the studio and are developed and translated through a range of techniques including painting and printmaking. Her work expresses lived experiences of the environment through canvases that emphasise space, texture and light. The effect of these paintings is to distil momentary impressions, observed or remembered, to immerse us in the sensations of a landscape.

Lynch’s recent commission work for has been in the shortlist of V&A illustration award 2024. Her recent exhibition include: The Last Time We Swam, 2023,Blue Shop Gallery, London (solo); Royal Drawing School: Celebrating the Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III & Queen Camilla, 2024, Christie’s Auction House, London; Woolwich Print Fair, Blue Shop Gallery, UK;Picasso: A 50 Year Legacy, 2024,  Christie’s Auction House, London; The Best of the Drawing Year,  2022, Christie’s Auction House,  London; The Drawing Year – Royal Drawing School, 2022, Shoreditch; Royal Drawing School Alumni Fundraiser, 2022, Buckingham Palace; Innocent Pleasures Suit Me, 2022, Warbling collective;