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Courtesy Edel Assanti.
Lee Sharrock talks to artist Ann-Marie James about her solo exhibition Le Monde Moderne at Edel Assanti. Since graduating with an MA in Fine Art from Wimbledon College of Art in 2012, James has exhibited in London, Paris, Italy and Japan, and won a scholarship to the British School at Rome. The Edel Assanti solo exhibition in association with Karsten Schubert, presents her new body of work, inspired by the oeuvre of early twentieth century Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha.
Ann-Marie James is interested in the way in which found images of works from antiquity and art history might be used to investigate her own responses to individual works, their themes and origins. Through repetition, obfuscation, abstraction and the exploration of material process, source imagery is re-contextualised and transformed to produce new hybrids. Her paintings in acrylic and oil are built up through layer upon layer of materials and techniques, as well as references to the history of the discipline.
Ann-Marie James (b. 1981) was born in Buckinghamshire, UK. She currently lives and works in London and Suffolk. The artist studied MA Fine Art at Wimbledon College of Art, London (2010-12); Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (2010) and BA (Hons) Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London (2001-04). Awards include the Artists International Development Fund, The British Council (2016), Derek Hill Foundation Scholarship at The British School at Rome (2013-14), MFI Flat Time House Graduate Award, supported by the John Latham Foundation, London (2012).
Edel Assanti in association with Karsten Schubert is pleased to present Le Monde Moderne, an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by Ann-Marie James.
Ann-Marie James's works explore her fascination with transformation, metamorphosis and the representation of corporal form. In Le Monde Moderne, James turns her focus to the work of early twentieth–century art nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha, focusing in particular on his best-known drawings of the actress Sarah Bernhardt.
Reformulating Mucha's depiction of the female figure, James makes sketches from sections of the artist's drawings, in turn using software to replicate, alter and layer them. These images are then laser-engraved onto wooden boards and overlayered with ink, acrylic and oil paint. Through this multifaceted process, James revisits works of the past and translates their forms into pure gestural texture and abstract motion.
In addition to her paintings, the exhibition includes a selection ink and acrylic drawings, executed directly on the plates of the antique bound book of Mucha’s works. These works illustrate the transition elicited by James’ process, often stemming from depictions of the female form via the male gaze. Something of the control that Mucha progressively relinquished to his female models is echoed in James’ deconstructed derivations; at once a tribute and an act of adaptation, James forces the subtlety of form to centre stage.
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