God Jar, Marie Le Lievre's fifth solo exhibition in the gallery, speaks to the artist's approach to her art. Here we see hard worked, deeply layered surfaces, with painting, drawing and even photography colliding, colluding and collapsing into and out of each other. Two painted photographs, showing the artist lying in the yoga corpse pose relaxed and fully alert, signal the creative process and her approach to artmaking - channelling her disciplined practice, her education, her life experience.
For Marie, art at its best offers a perfect harmonious state of flow. The God Jar plays an integral and critical role, gathering and holding all thoughts - all hopes and fears - so that they don't disrupt the process. While the approach is reminiscent of Max Gimblett's oft quoted line about painting being 'all mind no mind', the result is of a very different sensibility. Rather than dramatic gesture, these slowly made works, with layers built up over time portray feeling, if that were possible, and present in the first instance as objects of sensual experience.
Materially and metaphorically they play with the tension between flow and stricture, chaos and order. The artist is the choreographer through whom motion and feeling flow; she conceives and controls while allowing her media to perform.
In this exhibition, we see new notes appearing alongside the more familiar long-running themes. In the (Notes) works, charcoal 'notes' are densely inscribed on the oil, scarifying the surface, creating a deep intensity.
Marie has been attracting a lot of attention in recent years. Two years ago she made it onto the covers of Art News New Zealand and New Zealand's arts and literature magazine Tahake, at the same time, as well as being dubbed an artist to watch by Home NZ magazine. Her last two showings with the gallery have been sell-out successes.
Press release courtesy Bartley & Company Art.