Victoria Miro is delighted to present an exhibition of new work by Chantal Joffe, in which celebrated writers keep company with the artist's friends and family members.
A long-time observer of her immediate surroundings, Joffe's practice springs from the non-transferable nature of experience; a recent strain of her work places her commitment to the sensing, fleshy place from which a painter paints in relation to confessional poetry. Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, and Robert Lowell, among others, introduced to their work in the second half of the twentieth century the texture of lived experience, loosening formal strictures as they complicated, rather than collapsed, the relationship between personality and creative output.
Joffe has painted these writers, who performed the endlessly fraught interdependency of creative practice and everyday survival, from photographs reproduced in biographies. Composed mistresses; men with their second and third wives, and various offspring; couples absorbed in a world of their making; mothers and daughters embracing: these chaotic lives were only momentarily organised by the camera lens, with its split-second testimonies to the mundane efforts of those who seem to meet the world with some kind of vital layer less to function within it as best they can. Joffe handles these photographs with the
A sense of moving things held temporarily together, whether in a line of poetry or a family photograph, is present equally in recent portraits of loved ones in the throes of various transitional phases. Moon-faced new mothers and the sidelong glances of almost-teenage girls are depicted with a characteristic combination of psychological precision and formal ease that fluently conveys the unnameable, yet invariably utterly specific,
A group of new pastels is collectively titled 'Family Pictures'; Joffe has described the mesmeric and physical, arm-straining experience of their making, the thickly applied chalk accumulating with a dusty, luminous purity. There is a sense of democratic, mobile immediacy about these sticks of pigment, the looser strokes they occasion turning clothes, or the stripes of a beach hut, towards abstraction even as they retain the sense of gesture and place of their making. Here again, experience and artistic form, emotional
Born in 1969, Chantal Joffe lives and works in London. She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art and was awarded the Royal Academy Woollaston Prize in 2006. Joffe has exhibited nationally and internationally at the National Portrait Gallery, London (2015, two person); Jewish Museum, New York (2015, solo); Cheim & Read, New York (2015, solo); Jerwood Gallery, Hastings (2015, solo); Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy (2014 - 2015, two person); Saatchi Gallery, London (2013 - 2014); MODEM, Hungary (2012); Mackintosh Museum, Glasgow (2012); Il Capricorno, Venice (2011, solo); Turner Contemporary, Margate (2011); Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York (2009); University of the Arts, London (2007); MIMA Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (2007); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2005); Galleri KB, Oslo (2005) and Bloomberg Space, London (2004).
Press release courtesy Victoria Miro.
With her bold ability to catch beauty off guard and fix it, slapdash, in paint, the English artist Chantal Joffe is one of the most powerful figurative painters working today. Her subjects—mostly women—literally drip with life. Joffe developed her iconography early on and has stuck with it; her commitment to the challenges of painting...
The American-born, British-based painter Chantal Joffe can be crudely clumped with Alex Katz, Elizabeth Peyton and, more more awkwardly perhaps, John Currin. All, bar Currin, are broad brushstroke, awkward, off-kilter portraitists of contemporary glamour and ideals; fashion nymphs, the famous, successful modern women and sun-dappled families....