Land & Sea
The Sea Paintings series is central to the work of Jessica Warboys. Her generally large-scale paintings exist at the crossroads of ritual, performance and artistic process, three important elements driving this young artist’s work.
Warboys executes these series directly outdoors in the countryside, specifically on the English seaside, where the artist lays out her canvases on the beach. The combination of pigments and the wind and waves has yielded this tangible result. This process has ties to performance and the improvisation of gestural painting, and is similar to the way Warboys creates her videos, in which the narrative is revealed in time with the editing, like a puzzle.
In the space Warboys is showing on a single screen a trilogy that is made up of two recent films and a new piece. La forêt de Fontainebleau (Fontainebleau Forest, 2010), Marie de France (2010) and Victory Park(2011) are three self-contained films that form a triptych for this exhibition. Only one of the three is a sound film. The British artist reads a poem by the 12th-century poet Marie de France, who, like Warboys, lived between London and Paris.
The three films take place outdoors, in either a setting that has been laid out by man, as in the landscape park of Victoria Park, which dates from the 19th century, or in a natural area that is relatively untouched, such as the forest of Fontainebleau, long a favorite of landscape painters (the School of Fontainebleau, for instance). Occupying the center of the triptych, Marie de France consists of a subtle mix of an outdoor setting, a lushly growing meadow, and an indoor one.
In each part of the trilogy, the body is fragmented, as the camera focuses on the legs and arms of the two female characters.
Warboys creates mysterious, poetic, ritualized film scenarios.
At the heart of her work, legends and other founding myths are powerfully evoked, especially through her manipulation of objects. The recurrent object most often seen is the mirror, archetypal and timeless. It allows her to slyly reproduce the visual in the visual, and is a metaphor of painting and optical tricks. It is simply a producer of images.
Claire Le Restif
Jessica Warboys’ show À l’étage (Upstairs), runs from 24 March to 5 May 2011 at the Maison d’art Bernard Anthonioz (Nogent-sur-Marne) as part of the external program of the Jeu de Paume, Paris.
Film of the solo shows by Aurélien Froment and Jessica Warboys © Claire Le Restif / le Crédac
Jessica Warboys, born in 1977 in Newport, UK
Lives and works between Suffolk, UK and Berlin, Germany. After completing a master’s in 2001 at the Slade School of Fine Art – University College, London, where she specialized in sculpture, the artist took part in several group shows in Europe. In 2008 she showed her work for the first time in France, at the Villa Arson in Nice. Between 2009 and 2010, she exhibited at the Gaudel de Stampa Gallery and the South London Gallery, and participated in group shows at the Frac, Pays de la Loire, and the Fondation d’entreprise Ricard. This year BF15 in Lyon is hosting a solo show of her work; the Maison d’art Bernard Anthonioz is also featuring the artist, part of the Jeu de Paume’s “Satellite 4” program. She is scheduled as well to present her work as part of the group shows of the Frac Aquitaine, the Magasin – National Center of Contemporary Art of Grenoble, and the Dublin Contemporary.
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