Georgia Russell: Cells of Light
Galerie Karsten Greve Paris
Tuesday - Saturday 10am to 7pm
Opening on Friday, September 9, 2022, 5 - 8 pm
The artist is present.
“I cut and slice the paper and play with the gradations of tones, punctuated by the movement of my incisions in which the light seeps in.” - Georgia Russell
Georgia Russell in conversation with Aurélien Fouillet | Moderated by Anahita Vessier
Galerie Karsten Greve is delighted to present Cells of Light the new solo exhibition by Scottish artist Georgia Russell. Graeme Bezanson composed a poem that echoes her recent works, which is displayed at the gallery for this occasion. The itinerary of the exhibition offers visitors a stroll between enlightenment and questions regarding the current world, in which the natural and the artificial are more enmeshed than ever.
“Cells” are organic, living tissue – life. The cells of hives. But also celluloid, the first plastic material invented in 1856. Then there are monks’ cells, small rooms, places of confinement for prisoners. Or, on the contrary, a cell can refer to a group of individuals. Lastly, the word is present in ‘cell phone’, a device that accompanies us everywhere, all the time, from the crowds of cities to remote locations. From this word stem as many possibilities as differences.
“I cut and slash the paper and play with gradations of shades, rhythmed by the motions of my incisions, through which light filters in,” Georgia Russell said of her work. By incising surfaces, she creates a mirage between reality and illusion. From minute, repetitive cuts, protean works are born, the abstraction of which calls upon the subconscious and flirts with the imagination. Her work embodies the permeability of matter. “The world is not any less beautiful for beingknown onlythrough a slit or a hole in a plank”, wrote Henry David Thoreau. The slits in Russell’s canvases can be seen as portals to other universes, flow‑through cells for air and light.
Georgia Russell’s surgically precise gestures require mastery and patience. “I change blades every five minutes, because any more and they are no longer efficient enough.” Recently, the artist introduced a new matter into her work: organza, a synthetic fabric made from silk, industrially dyed with a hypnotic iridescence, as resistant as it is fragile. The slashing effect of the scalpel on both layers of the translucent fabric pushes optical confusion to the extreme and amplifies the lightness and delicacy of her works. The boundary between solidity and void fades, leaving the eye to lose itself in the movement and light. With Georgia Russell, incising and cutting thus become creative, and not destructive, acts.
In this configuration, the void makes the bright flashes of colour essential to animating canvases perceptible, just as windows traversed by light project their colourful image, created through human skill. For Georgia Russell, it is a “living, moving matter, which, like water or the wind, possesses its own life”. She lets colour pollinate the surface of her canvases – yellow, pink, purple… Intuitively, the artist gathers her hues in a true kaleidoscope. Meticulous observation reveals the gestures of the painter: the colours and strokes of her brush, which animate the surface of her works.
Inspired by nature and its incessant metamorphoses, the artist confronts reality and imbues her work with her most private thoughts on the changes of nature as it is rocked by human activity. Delicate shades shift towards a more saturated chromatic scale, alternating organic and artificial hues. Her palette changes in symbiosis with the environment, which Graeme Bezanson echoes in his poem:
“Everything is still too wet and heavy
disorienting air thick with pollen
Internet coursing through gaps between
tree trunks I am taking the same walk
again over and over down through
the valley out to the old pond in case
it helps somehow or I guess in case there
is no such thing as repetition”
In this exhibition, Georgia Russell demonstrates a new maturity in her approach. Her universe adapts to change while preserving wonder and poetry. The cells incised in the canvas or organza let in light and air, which cannot be contained, becoming true Cells of Light.