Maude Maris

Source Credit:  Content and images from Wall Street International Magazine by Wall Street International.  Read the original article - https://wsimag.com/art/64856-maude-maris

For the title of her first solo show at Praz-Delavallade, Maude Maris has
chosen Hieromancy, a reference to the ancient practice of divination
using offerings to the gods, in particular studying the entrails of
sacrificed animals. The exhibition that bears this rare, contextualised
term is comprised of around one dozen paintings of figures suffering
from rosacea, their abnormally flushed complexions shot through
with pink, red and burgundy. Each blends, more often than not, into
a cool, blurry blue background. Right from the start of her career
some fifteen years ago, Maris implemented a precise ritual involving
painted objects – one to which she has always remained true – and yet
this series marks a departure. It is as if the images have established
a mysteriously connection to the occult world, one which unsettles
notions of scale, disturbs perception and disrupts dominion.

As far as dimensions are concerned, Maris usually sees things on a very
big or a very small scale and only rarely in the intermediate formats
on show here. Each size offers a different chromatic experience,
from the fluid palette of the largest paintings in which the colours
are so diluted that the canvas seems like a fine, quivering skin, to the
smallest formats that concentrate the subject in an intense palette of
colours that forges a captivating relationship with the viewer.

It’s a fact that we can only see what we have learned to see, a fact
that highlights the role of pareidolia as we try to decode the painting,
imagining the slightest detail we perceive to be something familiar.
A soothsayer wouldn’t do it any differently. The titles also have a
part to play and contribute to this feeling of familiarity by adding the
notion of families – Ursidae, Caprinae and Leporidae, etc. – making
the viewer guess at their prototypical forms. As Maris makes no secret
of the question, let’s lift the veil on their origins: they are figurines,
small toys, or decorative objects just several centimetres high, either
stylised animals or human representations. As a result, we should
probably be looking at a much earlier stage to find the original model
for these paintings, the actual living creatures on which these objects
were based. But let’s pass over these beginnings and how industry
idealises the animal form, because it is the operations carried out
further down the line by the artist in her studio that are of interest.

The original object undergoes a series of transformations – 3, 4 or
5 – that challenge its very essence. It is cast in plaster and painted,
reflected in mirrors and photographed, before finally making its way
onto the artist’s canvas. Each successive manipulation is like a ricochet
that modifies the model, changing its material, surface, or quantity
using tried and tested special effects. Horizontal and vertical mirrors
show the object from every angle, whilst simultaneously trapping it
within an eternal loop; photography captures the object in an indexical
relationship and any resemblance is deliberately distorted.

Finally, the painter enters the fray. Oh, the sweet sensations to which
these illusory appearances give rise, as they put our senses in a swirl!
Oh, how heady the sensation of being confronted with this machine
that deforms reality! Shapes multiple, planes give in to anarchy and
perception falters as we are carried away to some funfair hall of mirrors or strapped into the centrifuge like apprentice astronauts. Losing any
point of reference, the gaze looks this way and that, searching for
balance and leaning with the weight of paint on the vertical edges,
the reverse of what we are used to. The tight framing impedes our
understanding of the image, in particular in the large formats that
seem to have been painted with a dolly zoom. As we get closer, a
disturbing effect of perspective makes the image seem to recede, like
sand slipping through our fingers. The truncated composition shows
an object that is always incomplete, its extremities amputated the
time it takes for our eye and mind to reconstitute phantom limbs.

What happens to this projection once painted? Compared to its
reference, is it enhanced or corrupted? Is it that little bit more than the
original, or on the contrary that much less? Considering the process
by which the image is manufactured from start to finish, it could
have become a perfectly synthetic rendering controlled by the artist
down to the very last whisker and yet, we feel that portrayal does
indeed rhyme with betrayal. The successive interpretations engender
a loss of fidelity, desynchronising and incorporating impurities and
random occurrences. Each mould, reflection, photo and copy has left
its mark in the form of chimera, memories and mirages. And yet, as
one deformation follows another and the subject is seen through yet
another filter, a miracle occurs! The image of the object resists, here a
muzzle, there an eye, and its manifest qualities subsist.

Embedding these successive transformations provides Maris with
endless opportunities to experiment with perception. Although based
on reality, the image is separated from the original model and takes on
an almost fantastical air. The fixity of a very small number of original
elements – no more than ten or so – which the artist has been tirelessly
dissecting for several years, is confounding. Constantly returning to
the same forms, Maris always manages to create something new. When,
in the past, her subjects stood aloof in the centre of the image, their
outline sharp and distinct with space all around, the titles referenced
the idols of Antiquity (Bastet, Io, Tethys, etc.). In this recent series, the
same subjects lie prostrate, knocked over, brought down, their bellies
offered in sacrifice. When once before they were venerated as gods,
today they are excoriated; yesterday they were admired for their form
and today for their material.

In conclusion, and returning to the title of the exhibition, we have
to ask: Have the gods given us a sign? In fact, they always do, if
that is we know how to interpret their message. The entrails of these
paintings have certainly delivered theirs: continue painting and never
stop for it is a token of humanity.

(Laetitia Chauvin)

Maude Maris (b. 1980), lives and works in Paris. Graduated from
the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art et Médias of Caen and the
Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, her work has since been exhibited in France
and abroad: Les Ateliers Vortex, Dijon, FR (2020); CAPA, Aubervilliers,
FR (2020); Maison des arts, Malakoff, FR (2020); Memento, Auch, FR
(2020); Greylight Projects, Brussels, BE (2018), bringing her several
nominations and awards. Maude Maris’ work is included in numerous
collections including: Bel Fund, Colas Fund, Emerige Fund, Musée
des Beaux-Arts de Rennes, FRAC Auvergne, FRAC Basse-Normandie,
FRAC Haute-Normandie, Artothèque de Caen.

Source Credit:  Content and images from Wall Street International Magazine by Wall Street International.  Read the original article - https://wsimag.com/art/64856-maude-maris