Marie Le Lievre

With a BA in crim­i­nol­ogy, the artist plumbs fears real and imag­ined from a dreamy in­ter­nal world, writes An­drew Paul Wood.

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Christchurch-based Marie Le Lievre’s paint­ings are won­der­fully in­tri­cate mech­a­nisms of con­ceal­ment and rev­e­la­tion. Though she’s a grad­u­ate of Can­ter­bury Univer­sity’s School of Fine Arts, with a BFA (hons) in paint­ing in 2007, and MFA (dis­tinc­tion) in 2008, she also has a BA in Crim­i­nol­ogy from Vic­to­ria, which may ex­plain some­thing of her work. Biomor­phic pools of translu­cent and opaque pig­ment in cool monochromes are con­tain­ers to catch up a per­sonal vo­cab­u­lary of sym­bols hint­ing at real or imag­ined fears, anx­i­eties and con­cerns and var­i­ous spir­i­tual, ther­a­peu­tic and holis­tic coping strate­gies. Some­times they are veils ob­scur­ing the subtle, richly hued flamelets flick­er­ing at the edges like orac­u­lar and un­know­able truths. Sur­faces rip­ple and crackle like skin. Colours bleed like flesh. Shad­ows move at the cor­ner of your eye. Of­ten those great oceanic forms, amoe­bic and timeless, lost in their own song out­side our range of hear­ing, bris­tle with drawn lines that are some­times scaf­fold­ing, some­times a scrub of eye­lashes and some­times spell out words. More re­cently Le Lievre has in­cor­po­rated pho­tographs as a sur­face to paint on, bring­ing her dream­ing in­scapes into the real world.

1. ‘Hooked Para­pher­na­lia’. 2. ‘Fac­tory’. 3. ‘Seven’. Pho­tog­ra­phy cour­tesy the artist and Jonathan Smart Gallery. 1

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