Marie Jacotey: Don’t you worry honey
Hannah Barry Gallery, London
Written on the occation of Don’t you worry honey, a solo exhibition work by Marie Jacotey that presented by Hannah Barry Gallery (14 April – 29 May 2021) and conceived as a window into the recurring themes that provoke and inform Marie’s practice.
Demonstrating her emblematic storytelling of love, lust and landscape, this selection of works showed the mediums and techniques the artist has used to capture her subjects over the years, presenting coloured pencil drawings on plaster from the series Getting over you (2014), works in dry pastel on Japanese paper from the series Nights of Poor Sleep (2016) and recent works on paper and canvas made on the Mahler and LeWitt Residency in Spoleto and in her new studio in Marseille.
“Without a structured narrative, the tale of these works becomes one of intense feelings, memories and mistakes made. We have been caught flicking through the muddled pages of a diary — a poetic ellipsis in visual terms, private and confessional. Common to each is a preoccupation with how relationships — those most intimate and cherished — shape the perception of our interior and physical landscapes. It is a world of humble ferocity, filled as much with violence, desperation and romance, as it is with tenderness, melancholy and solitude. Together these drawings provide a glimpse into the vicissitudes of falling in love, its ecstasy and absence.
Nowhere is Jacotey’s diaristic style clearer than in her works on plaster. Coloured pencil on postcard-sized tablets, they depict empty landscapes or an isolated woman, sometimes accompanied by corpses or ghosts. The rawness of their materiality, evocative of touch and texture, is set against the spectral works of dry pastel specially mounted and framed by Soft Baroque. Where plaster calls forth the presence of the body, the works on Japanese paper are tenebrous and cerebral, captured between panes of glass and silicone. Less figurative, more concentrated on mood and landscape, Nights of Poor Sleep turned inward — an ineluctable and devouring mist that obscured bodily tension for a deeper sense of introspection and melancholy.
In a continuation of her works on fabric — typically large double-sided textiles evocative of the Palazzo style — Jacotey has begun a parallel series of works on quilted canvas. They present sombre memento mori — tulips, sword and helmet. As with the recent felt-tip pen drawings they are untethered from a clear protagonist, the fragmented thoughts of an unknown narrator, for whom the subjects of intimacy, love and rejection are never far away.”