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Press release

Chantal Joffe
28 september - 25 november 2017

Monica De Cardenas is delighted to announce an exhibition of new work by British painter Chantal Joffe.

Joffe is known for her portraits, painted in a fluid, smooth style, in which she is able to capture the emotions, weaknesses and vitality of human existence. Her subjects are often female: girls, adolescents and women seen in different moments of life.
The artist depicts them with a gaze that is halfway between the immediacy of a snapshot and a situation of emphatic distortion. These studies on the human condition express no judgments, but appear one after the other with great energy and engagement, also thanks to the bold rejection of any formal order. The psychological intensity of the figures makes our very opinion ambiguous, disturbing and gratifying us at the same time.

With influences ranging from Piero della Francesca to Edgar Degas and from Francis Bacon to Alex Katz, Joffe has based her work on a direct and intimate observational relationship between the painter and her sitter. Mostly her subjects are family members and personal friends, sometimes images from historical figures or the mass media. She is also engaged in a series of candid, often searing self-portraits and tender double portraits with her daughter Esme. Whatever their origin, her subjects have the intensity and psychological richness of characters, like instants captured from the lives of literary heroines.

Within this subject area, Joffe experiments widely with form, color, texture and approach. The paintings swing between the poles of forethought and improvisation, as flurries of brushstrokes repeatedly clash and fuse across the canvas’s arena of action. Although drawing is important to her, she never delineates her forms, but rather allows color and shape to merge as a cumulation of her imaginative process. As she told The Independent in 2014: “I paint to think”.

A group of new pastels is collectively titled ‘Family Pictures’. Joffe has described the mesmeric and physical, arm-straining experience of their making, the thickly applied chalk accumulating with a dusty, luminous purity. There is a sense of democratic, mobile immediacy about these sticks of pigment, the looser strokes they occasion turning clothes, or the stripes of a beach hut, towards abstraction even as they retain the sense of gesture and place of their making. Here again, experience and artistic form, emotional connection and representation, are suspended in lively, irresolvable association on Joffe’s picture plane, which accommodates all manner of psychological and spatio-temporal complexities.

Born in 1969, Chantal Joffe lives and works in London. She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art and was awarded the Royal Academy Woollaston Prize in 2006. Joffe has exhibited internationally at the National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavík (2016); National Portrait Gallery, London (2015); Jewish Museum, New York (2015, solo); Jerwood Gallery, Hastings (2015, solo); Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy (2014-2015); Saatchi Gallery, London (2013 -2014); Mackintosh Museum, Glasgow (2012); Turner Contemporary, Margate (2011); Neuberger Museum of Art, New York (2009); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2005); Galleri KB, Oslo (2005) and Bloomberg Space, London (2004).

Chantal Joffe
28 settembre - 25 novembre 2017

Siamo felici di annunciare la mostra della pittrice inglese Chantal Joffe.
Presenteremo una ventina di dipinti e pastelli realizzati nel corso degli ultimi due anni.

Chantal Joffe è conosciuta per i suoi ritratti, dipinti in modo fluido e scorrevole, nei quali riesce a catturare emozioni, debolezze e la vitalità dell’esistenza umana.
I soggetti sono spesso femminili: bambine, ragazze e donne ritratte in diversi momenti della vita, con uno sguardo a metà tra l’immediatezza di un’istantanea e la distorsione enfatica. Questi studi sulla condizione umana si susseguono senza esprimere giudizi ma con grande slancio e partecipazione, anche grazie alla trasgressione di qualsiasi ordine formale. L’intensità psicologica dei personaggi rende ambigua la nostra stessa opinione, disturbando e appagandoci al contempo. L’artista spesso ritrae giovani adolescenti, età in cui l’interiorità è densa di sogni e d’imperscrutabile mistero.
L’origine dell’ispirazione visiva fluttua tra il ritratto di un’amica personale, l’icona proveniente dai media e l’immaginazione dell’artista. Le figure hanno l’intensità e la ricchezza psicologica del personaggio, come se catturassero un attimo nella vita di un’eroina della letteratura. Appaiono al tempo stesso modeste e provocanti, oneste e misteriose, sicure di sé e vulnerabili; esprimono sicurezza e dubbio non solo attraverso la loro immagine, ma anche attraverso lo stile pittorico. Joffe sperimenta ampiamente con forme, colori e la struttura delle pennellate, che possono essere nette e precise oppure spesse, spontanee, veloci e tattili. I dipinti oscillano tra intenzionalità e improvvisazione, mentre i segni si scontrano o si fondono sull’arena della tela.

Nei nuovi pastelli, dal titolo “Family Pictures”, l’artista ritrae soprattutto la figlia Esme, il marito Dan e se stessa. La polvere di pastello si accumula con una purezza polverosa e luminosa. Queste opere esprimono un senso d’immediatezza mobile e i tratti che delineano i vestiti o le strisce di una capanna in spiaggia tendono verso l'astrazione. L’esperienza e la forma artistica, la connessione emotiva e la rappresentazione si fondono, includendo ogni tipo di complessità psicologica e spazio-temporale.

In un’intervista pubblicata dall’Indipendent l’artista afferma: “Dipingere è il mio modo per pensare”.

Nata a St. Alban (USA) nel 1969 ma residente a Londra, Chantal Joffe ha studiato al Glasgow School of Art e nel 1994 ha ricevuto il Master Degree del Royal College of Art di Londra. Ha esposto in importanti spazi pubblici come il National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavik (2016); National Portrait Gallery, London (2015); Jewish Museum New York (2015) Jerwood Gallery, Hastings (2015); Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia (2014); Saatchi Gallery, London (2013-2014); MODEM Hungary (2012); Mackintosh Museum, Glasgow (2012); Turner Contemporary, Margate (2011); Neuberger Museum of Art, New York (2009); University of the Arts, London (2007); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2005); Bloomberg Space (2004).

Texts

Chantal Joffe