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Georgia Russell

GALERIE KARSTEN GREVE PARIS

Georgia Russell, Untitled (blue I), 2019, acrylic and gouache on canvas, 250 x 200 x 45 cm / 98 1/2 x 78 3/4 x 17 3/4 in
 
"Paintings"
September 14 - October 26, 2019
Opening Saturday, September 14, 5 - 7 p.m.
The artist will be present.
 

“Between masks of mist

and greenery,

is a sublime instant

where nature is

revealed more than usual.”

 

Entre le masque de brume, Rainer Maria Rilke

 

 

The Galerie Karsten Greve presents its fourth exhibit of Scottish artist Georgia Russell’s work; featuring around twenty previously unseen pieces. Painting is the headliner in this new phase of her creative process. Alongside the exhibit, a trilingual catalogue includes articles by Nicholas Fox Weber, director of the Joseph and Anni Albers Foundation; and, Daniel Kothenschulte, author, curator, and cinema and art history professor.

 

Georgia Russell’s adventures with the scalpel began almost twenty years ago when she began overlapping cut- outs of photographs to create images within images. Next, eviscerated old books were fashioned into totem- like sculptures. It has only been since 2015 that paper has yielded to canvas; and the artist undertook her current and ever-changing pictorial endeavours. During this new phase, painting has taken centre stage. Whereas in previous works on canvas an iridescent palette blended into complex cut-out work entailing kinetic optical elements. Today, a yearning for simplicity guides the artist’s choices. The paintings have become almost monochromatic, favouring green, blue, grey hues; hinging around various nuances achieved by using highly diluted pictorial materials (acrylic and gouache). A similar wake of simplification seems to have prompted the quasi elimination of any further pieces under Plexiglas, in favour of those set in a metal frame instead - thus establishing a more direct rapport between the piece and the onlooker.

While works done in the past using cut-out and assembly techniques were sculptural – and strove for tri- dimensional effect using layers of paper or canvas – her new cut-out pieces look more pictorial. Similar to architectural styles across the Arab world wherein windows are cut into walls (mashrabiya), the main focus here being the relationship between the whole flat surface of the canvas (opaque and stiff) and the empty spaces made by rhythmical graphic incisions. Similar to a ‘mashrabiya’, these cutaways transform the canvas into a permeable palimpsest that we may peer into. Moreover, the natural colouration of these paintings plunge them into an atmosphere that has clearly been derived from the natural world. The relationship between indoor-and-outdoor appears reversed: the pieces become plant-like windows; light filtering through, offering glimpses of architecture.

For Georgia Russell, nature itself is indeed an everlasting source of inspiration, and she chooses colours that mirror those of her homeland: within her imaginary mindscape, these also reflect her perceptions of nature itself. Ever aware of today’s environmental concerns, the artist does not depict, nonetheless, any of the devastation in our natural surroundings. On the contrary, in fact: she celebrates the very integral essence of these elements, their substantive energy. This vital strength is visible in the movement found in her painting, a harmonious state between the creating artist and Nature, bringing to mind Romanticism. For those artists, perfect human rationality stands impotent against the magnificence of natural phenomena. But by experiencing the sublime, one can eventually encapsulate it from an emotional standpoint and turn it into art. Georgia Russell’s painting lives at a crossroads between the sublime drama of Caspar David Friedrich, where the power of nature defines man’s own limitations; and, the sublime luminosity in the timeless nature of John Constable. Gaining ownership of a discernable creative touch – wherein we may decipher the choreography of the artist’s own hand – has become a conscious act of personal identity: today, Georgia Russell has become a Painter. Expressionist-like brushstrokes flutter and harken the rustling of leaves in a tree shaken by a storm, or the peacefulness in a clearing under the midday sun.

These new paintings simultaneously embody both the strength, and the fragility, of nature’s perpetual metamorphosis. As one wanders through the gallery’s rooms, cradled in a rhythmic swing between brushstrokes and scalpel-apertures, ever so slowly, a subtly sublime serenity surfaces within…

 

Georgia Russell was born in 1974 in Elgin, Scotland. She studied Fine Art at the University of Aberdeen, and then at the Royal College of Art in London where she earned a Master’s degree in Printmaking. Georgia Russell has been part of numerous international exhibits, notably: the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; the Museum of Arts and Design in New York; and the Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington D.C. In 2015, the Het Noordbrabants Museum (Renschdel Foundation) in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands held a solo exhibit of her work. In 2016 her work was shown at the Bayer Kultur Foundation in Leverkusen, and at the Museum Pfalzgalerie in Kaiserslautern, also in Germany. Significant private and public collections have acquired her pieces, including the above-mentioned museums and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Georgia Russell lives and works in Méru, in France.

Accompanying the exhibition there will be a catalogue entitled Gergia Russell "Paintings" with texts by Nicholas Fox Weber and Daniel Kothenschulte. 35.00 euros.

 
 
 
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