“Color is a mobile material that, like water or wind, has a life of its own.” Georgia Russell’s entire research lies in this quest for movement in the very matter of the work, not its representation but its inscription, its shaping in the very body of the material constituting the work. It is thus by making the paper palpitate that she succeeds in transforming the color into “mobile matter.”
“I cut, I lacerate the paper and I play with the gradations of tones, punctuated by the movement of my incisions, in which the light seeps in,” explainsthe Scottish artist, settled in the Oise, north of Paris, with a rare clarity and simplicity. “My work is the result of accumulations of cuttings. The repetition then creates emptiness and matter. These repetitive marks create a surface and an object in three dimensions.” Accumulation, repetition, cutting… Emptiness, matter, light, surface… Transformation of color into “mobile matter,” of emptiness into matter crossed by light… There is something of transubstantiation in Georgia Russell’s creative process.
The title of her latest work presented at the Karsten Greve gallery (which has represented the artist, born in 1974, since 2010) is, in this regard, very evocative: Cells of Light. Through the incision of surfaces (canvas, paper, organza), painted in oil or acrylic, “she creates a mirage at the intersection of the real and the illusory,” of the full and the empty, the visible and the invisible.
Implementing in their interstices the permeability of matter, her honeycombed canvases, woven of colors and intertwined lights, evoke sometimes the skin, “the organic cell, the living tissue, the life” … sometimes its reflection through stained glass or the shimmer of water.
And the glance, caught by these moving gradations of color, to sail on this shimmering swell and to rush in these interstices; finely lacerated with the scalpel, the cracks of the paintings of Georgia Russell are doors half-opened on the void – this place beyond the surface of things, this immaterial space defined as “image of the infinite” by Lucio Fontana. But if it is to the contemplation of this infinite and to a liberation “from the slavery of matter” that, between 1949 and 1968, the master of Concetto Spaziale invited with his split canvases, it is more a plastic quest that Georgia Russell seems to pursue. Playing with the optical confusion (pushed to its paroxysm with the use of the organza, this synthetic veil with the infinite iridescences, perpetually changing), the artist becomes master of the illusions transforming the tangible support of the canvas into an immaterial, moving, and changing surface, attracting the glance in the reels of its hypnotic oscillations to walk there, to get lost there, or to be damaged there…
From 9th September to 16th October
Georgia Russell Exhibition – Cells of Light
Galerie Karsten Greve – 5, rue Debelleyme, Paris III – www.galerie-karsten-greve.com