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Re-found: A variety of sources given new contexts

— May 2013

Associated media

Charlotte Hodes, ceramic work for Re-found


Exhibition at jaggedart, London: 23 May – 15 June
Sara J Beazley – Charlotte Hodes – María Noël

Sara J Beazley, Charlotte Hodes and María Noël have been inspired by different source material found through art, literature, history, landscapes and textiles.  Amalgamating their respective sources, Sara, Charlotte and María respond using collage, married with a range of different techniques including a variety of printmaking techniques, intricate paper cuts, painting and ceramics. 

The works in the exhibition are inspired by art history. From one of María’s paintings, an image of Bernini’s travertine angel that guards the Ponte Sant’Angelo in Rome exists alongside Sara’s print of the jostling restaurant signs of Kowloon, Hong Kong.  The figures dance across the rounded surface of Charlotte’s ceramic vessels, with women dressed in Grecian robes, corsets and hooped skirts, or flapper dresses, side by side.  The exhibition has a distinctly international flavour with artwork responding to found materials from the UK, Europe, Hong Kong and Argentina.   In addition to a contemporary aesthetic, each artist has embraced a modern way of working combined with more traditional techniques.  Sara sources vintage postcards from ebay, María scours the Internet for source material and Charlotte uses laser cutting techniques to render minute detail. 

Both Sara and Charlotte are particularly interested in textiles, which they use to different effect in relation to collage.  Sara J Beazleyexplores change in urban landscapes layering collographs and intaglio printing techniques to incorporate elements of colour, pattern, textiles and texture.  Combining found images from architectural drawings, textiles, old postcards and stamps Sara creates elegant unique prints.

Collograph printing is an intaglio process often described as a simple form of etching and uses a card or mount board as a printing plate instead of a metal.  These images reflect the densely populated area where Sara had her studioinKowloon. In other prints, lace is layered over the top half of the page, mimicking the clouds over Victoria Harbour.  Azure blues reflect the colours of the sea and the bay.  Traditional junks are replaced with 747s as Sara depicts a city of contrasts.  

Collage and textiles are principal elements of Charlotte Hodes’  work. The playful nature of the figures belies the work and detail of their creation.  The work questions the position of the female figure as represented in art history, as a decorative motif and as being inextricably linked to the domestic.  Charlotte’s work centres on the female figure.  She draws upon the decorative and applied arts, fashion and costume, often using archives and collections as a source for projects. She works by hand and digitally both with drawing, through which she builds an 'archive' of usable visual imagery and with collage.

Charlotte's work is informed by her experience as a painter and involves large-scale ‘papercuts’ that have been both digitally collaged and intricately hand cut, as well as ornately decorated ceramic vessels and glass.   Collage is a constant element of her work. The depiction of the female figure, drawn from contemporary and historical sources, is the overriding and recurrent theme. The work evokes sensuousness and a sumptuous feeling of celebration, simultaneously questioning the position of the female figure as decorative motif. 

A daughter and granddaughter of Argentinean writers, María Noël responds to literature, rather than textiles, as the main influence in her paintings and works on paper.  María’s new series,‘What do we talk about when we talk about art?’, is a homage to Art itself, a collage of ideas, quotes, and references which invite the viewer to discover and play, making free associations.  María explains that ‘Collage, one of the techniques I apply the most, relates to a spirit that defines me: that of taking a bit of everything and everywhere, of giving new meaning to the discarded, of generating chance meetings’. 

In ‘What do we talk about when we talk about art?’, Maria explores the notion of originality in art.  María’s appropriations and amalgamations of varied source material into her own works reject the notion of the impossibility of original thought, and celebrate the cultural influences that shape our learning and our lives. 

The title of this series paraphrases the title of a short story by American writer Raymond Carver.  María’s work is imbued with visual and literary puns.  Fragments of Picasso’s Suite Vollard are reproduced, a series of prints in which Picasso reflected on the artistic process, drawing scenes of the artist and the model in the studio.  The series became a way of recognizing that some authors continue to hold interest and others do not, and of confirming her belief that Beauty, with its multiple facets that artists continue to discover, is, for María, an absolute value. 

See also Jenny Kingsley’s article ‘21st-century Medici’ in Cassone, February 2013

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