Event review: Juliette Clovis’s Invasion Metamorphosis at RISE Gallery

By - Thursday 26th November, 2015

Bernadette Fallon walks the boundaries of female identity

Image by RISE Gallery, used with permission.

Arresting. Sharp. Poised.

Intricate. Delicate. Magical.

Juliette Clovis is a thirty-eight-year-old French artist whose work focuses on female identity and the representation of women in contemporary life, with influences drawn from myth, history and culture. Her pictures are currently creating an eye-catching visual feast in one of the large gallery rooms at RISE gallery on St George’s Walk, with a small overspill into the smaller room next door.

Each piece is painstakingly built up, layer upon layer of graphically styled cuttings, to a highly polished finish with laquer-like sheen. Intricate in every individual detail, each creation is as finely worked as lace.

She has created an interesting juxtaposition of hard and soft: delicate ladies, festooned with decoration and display, insolently pierce you with their hard gaze as you walk past. Elaborate hairstyles become emerging birds, snakes coil and undulate alongside exquisite butterflies and fluttering feathers. This is metamorphosis; the feminine subject flows into many manifestations and also is invaded by their presence.

A work of highly crafted couture, a work of art

There are women pierced with arrows, women bound with rope, figures that are tigers and clawed birds, but the sense of the feminine and both the strength and vulnerability that conveys, is always present. Each is a work of highly crafted couture as much as a work of art. And like fine couture or priceless art, each piece is a labour of several hundred hours dedicated work.

Created from a monochrome palette that uses every nuance of black and white, the works are all the more startling then for the unexpected pops of colour that punctuate their surfaces – the splash of red in the petal of a flower, a dab of blue or green in an iris. And one poignantly emotive single black rectangle, highly polished but empty, simply titled ‘Paris 13/11’.

Juliette Clovis: Invasion & Metamorphosis is at RISE gallery, St George’s Walk, Croydon, until Wednesday 23rd December 2015.

Bernadette Fallon

Bernadette Fallon

Bernadette has been a journalist since the age of 7 when she devised, designed and launched ‘Fallon’s News’ – much to her family’s delight. Brought up in Ireland, she was born in Addiscombe where she now lives, though it took her several decades to find it again. She works as a journalist and broadcaster. Follow her at Twitter.com/bernibee

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