R E C L I N E R
The trope of the reclining woman occurs throughout art history as an object of desire, but also as a damn good compositional idea; a curvy horizontal shape in front of the dynamic vertical lines of interior space practically paints itself. But instead of being the passive object to be viewed, what is it like to be the recliner? The exhibition title Recliner suggests both a comfy chair as well as an assertive being with a thinking mind: one who reclines. In this duo show of abstract sculpture and painting, Jessica Groome and Julie Beugin open a space to engage in the mental repose that is essential for constructive and experimental thought.
Jessica Groome’s sculptures are directly influenced by Kirchner’s reclining women in his gloriously bizarre 1933 painting, Three Nudes in the Woods. Kirchner’s surprising use of inventive shapes and flat colours could easily be a current example of contemporary figurative painting, barring the stylized bob hairdos of the three lounging figures. Kirchner returned to the composition many times, and Groome has been similarly obsessed, repeatedly coming back to references to the painting in different forms. In Recliner, her pastel floor sculptures directly mirror Kirchner’s three figures. Initially appearing both comedic and physically solid, their bold and voluptuous personalities are enunciated with a seamless and precise construction. Yet their solidity and implied weight is an illusion; on closer observation, it can be seen that they are only made from paper, delicate and temporary.
Continuing this feeling of lightness, the walls of the exhibition are hung with the airy collaged paintings of Julie Beugin. On large scale canvases, big loose transparent gestures overlap in cut and paste compositions. Abstracted from photographic collages of shapes and light in the city, Beugin’s paintings suggest a puzzling sense of space while remaining direct and material. Bright and muted tones mingle in large fluid gestures, suggesting moments of transitory sunlight. As each painting is constructed from multiple paintings with visible seams, nothing is singular, and compositions are necessarily contingent and unpredictable. Negative white spaces of unpainted canvas appear both as the simple surface of the canvas and as a limitless depth of possible space.
During the continued uncertainty and weariness that is the spring of 2021 in Berlin, this exhibition, whether it can only be viewed virtually or actually in person, will provide open space, breathing room, and the possibility of regeneration, even relaxation, in contemplating the abstract and unknown.
April 10, 17 and 24th 2021