AboutEleven is delighted to present Willow Weep for Me, an exhibition of new works by Martha Parsey. In this new series, the painter expands on her combinations of figuration and abstraction. While geometric shapes have often interfered with her luscious female characters, Parsey is now investigating the possibilities of a much more organic kind of abstraction where large expanses of textured paint act as backdrops. The pond's dark shades in Without a Paddle (2010), have something of Monet's water lilies series. The murky waters, exquisitely combining bottle greens, browns and blues seem to be undulating, quietly disturbed by the boat's slow movements.
Like most of Parsey's elegant paintings, Without a Paddle is also an intriguing narrative vignette. Who is this woman, waiting on a punt, unable to go anywhere without a paddle. She's lost in her thoughts, melancholic perhaps, detached from the reality where she seems to have accidently landed. Her 1920's dress is for the painter another opportunity to experiment with textures: Parsey has made of this gracefully hanging piece of cloth an abstract piece in itself, merging the convoluted motifs of the textiles with light, feathery black brush strokes.
The androgynous figure in The Man Who would be King (2010) adds another layer to this scenario. Unsettlingly hovering between genders, he's perhaps looking at our heroine from the shore, incapable or unwilling to help. One can help but dream up a romantic tension between the two characters of these paintings, functioning like the real backbone of the exhibition. Parsey pictures a fictional portrait gallery, setting up the characters of a drama about to unfold.
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.