AboutEleven is delighted to present new paintings by Martha Parsey. Following on from her previous series The Maids, Parsey now focuses on their wealthy mistresses, patrician ladies languorously waiting in luxurious interiors. Like trophy-women trapped in golden cages, they seem to belong to another time, a romanticized turn-of-the-century. Each of them is an intrigue, a mystery, opening up a complex weave of potential narratives.
Parsey's characters pose in an all-jewelled splendour. They replicate the attitude of their predecessors, the rich Florentines from the Renaissance and the 'Grandes Dames' of the 19th Century immortalized by the likes of Boticelli and Ingres. Yet despite this strong sense of historicity, there is something resolutely contemporary about these women; their faces bring to mind the perfect features of today's well-known personalities. Martha Parsey's alluring paintings exist in this zone of tension, between a mystified past and a glossy-paged present.
This new series is characterized by the extraordinary rendering of gold and silver. This is a challenge for the artist, fascinated by the difficulty of painting complex textures, precious metals, reflective surfaces, the fluffiness of fur coats in Out to Lunch (2008) and the shimmering beads of the heavy necklaces pictured in Solid Gold (2008). Beyond their narrative content, Parsey's works also function as experiments with the pictorial medium. Disruptive abstract blobs and stripes come to interfere with the figurative representations and large parts of the canvas are left un-painted: at once focusing the viewers' gaze and encouraging them to imagine the invisible.
Martha Parsey studied painting and film at Central St Martins and the London College of Printing, London and at the Hochschule der Künste and the German Film and Television Academy, Berlin. Her paintings have been exhibited widely in solo exhibitions in Berlin, Cologne and London as well as the Museum Ludwig, Aachen. Her work is in a number of prestigious collections worldwide including the Ovitz Family Collection and the Zabludowicz Collection.
Her documentary films on Francis Bacon, a collaboration with curator and art critic David Sylvester, have been screened at the ICA, the Hayward Gallery, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Haus der Kunst, Munich.
Martha Parsey was born in London in 1973 and lives and works in Cologne.
For further information on Martha Parsey or forthcoming exhibitions at Eleven please contact Coline Milliard on 020 7823 5540 or on email@example.com