In this rare artistic collaboration, the photographer Miles Aldridge invited contemporary painter Chantal Joffe to explore the theme of 'the artist and model'. The resulting works in colour and black and white photographs, ink and pencil drawings and paintings in watercolour and oils create a fascinatingly obsessive and emotional study of one woman: the model Kristen McMenamy.
Aldridge is well known for high-gloss, high-drama images of women captured in pop colours. His work featured in the recent "Weird Beauty" Exhibition at The International Centre of Photography in New York, while his two solo shows in London and New York in 2009 were heralded in international publications ranging from The New York Times to Art Review:
"In his acid-coloured images of lascivious lips, impossibly glossed models and hallucinogenic still lifes, photographer Miles Aldridge is plainly heir to some of the twentieth century's enduring pop culture visionaries." Art Review, April 2009
For this latest project Aldridge set out to create a study of one woman scrutinised by various media - the mechanical precision of the camera versus the painter's expressive brushstrokes. "I wanted a friction between the textures of painting, pencil and photography. I was excited by how that could look on a gallery wall," says Aldridge.
He immediately thought of London-based artist Chantal Joffe. "She uses paint properly and gives you that gory, painterly texture that I love - drippy, splattered and quite violent." In contrast to Aldridge's vision of women, Joffe's portraits offer an emotional, deeply human response to her subjects. In the introduction to the catalogue of her 2008 exhibition at the Victoria Miro Gallery in London, Neal Brown wrote: Joffe has a 'disorder' in the sense that, working within the often anti-intuitive context of contemporary art, she not only seeks the truth of human emotions, but does so with unfashionable compassion and humanity. Diligently, thoughtfully, she attends to the one thing that is of most visual interest to human beings and their visual artists: the face - or, perhaps we should say, to the emotions and feelings as the face reveals and expresses them.
Aldridge and Joffe worked in tandem in Joffe's East London studio, taking turns to lead and follow. While Joffe favoured softer, more traditional life-model positions, Aldridge encouraged Kristen to adopt a more erotic stance, characteristic of the photographic style for which he is famous.
Joffe's expressive works in oils and watercolours, which frequently drip, smudge and blur, capture Kristen at ease, in the contemplative mode of a life-model relaxing into a long pose; the accompanying black and white images taken by Aldridge during those sessions pay homage to that naturalism.
Aldridge's colour images of Kristen are highly charged - the artist's model turned femme fatale. Acid yellow and lurid violet replace the softer sorbet tones of Joffe's palette. The spiky immediate graphic works drawn by Joffe record that intensity of mood.The photographs by Aldridge and works by Joffe on display create a remarkable and emotional document of one woman.
Aldridge's work has been published in magazines around the world: Vogue Italia, American Vogue, Japanese Vogue, Chinese Vogue, Russian Vogue, Numero, The New York Times, The New Yorker, L'Uomo Vogue and Paradis. His work has been exhibited in numerous group shows, most recently at Miami Beach Art Photo Expo as part of Art Basel Miami 2007. He has exhibited two solo shows at Reflex Gallery Amsterdam: The Cabinet in 2006 and Acid Candy in 2008, and Marilyn Manson and David Lynch contributed introductions to the catalogues to these solo exhibitions. Furthermore in 2009 Miles Aldridge's work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Hamiltons Gallery in London, Stephen Kasher Gallery in New York and at Colette in Paris. His work is in the permanent collection at The National Portrait Gallery in London. A monograph of his photographic work, including drawings has been published in 2009 by Karl Lagerfeld's 7L imprint thru Steidl. He lives and works in London.
Chantal Joffe's work has been shown in numerous major solo exhibitions in galleries as Cheim & Reid in New York, Victoria Miro Gallery, White Chapel Art Gallery, Saatchi Gallery and The Tate Gallery in London. She won The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition's Wollaston Award in 2006.
This is their first project together which has it's premiere at Galerie Alex Daniels