Victoria Miro opens an exhibition of new works by Chantal Joffe

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Victoria Miro opens an exhibition of new works by Chantal Joffe
Chantal Joffe, Story, 2020. Oil on canvas, 60 x 80 cm. 23 5/8 x 31 1/2 in © Chantal Joffe. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro.

LONDON.- Victoria Miro is presenting new works by Chantal Joffe. Accompanied by an artist’s book with a new text by Olivia Laing, Story features paintings of the artist’s mother and considers issues of aging, motherhood and visibility, focusing particularly on the complex relationship between mother and child over time. The exhibition is the third in a trilogy that began with a year of self-portraits, shown at Victoria Miro in 2019, followed by For Esme – with Love and Squalor, which captured the changing faces across the years of Joffe and her daughter, Esme, on view at Arnolfini, Bristol, in 2020.

Chantal Joffe brings a combination of insight and integrity, as well as psychological and emotional force, to the genre of figurative art. Defined by its clarity, honesty and empathetic warmth her work is attuned to our awareness as both observers and observed beings, apparently simple yet always questioning, complex and emotionally rich.

The exhibition includes a number of new paintings of the artist’s mother, Daryll, part of an ongoing series that Joffe began some three decades ago. These works, some painted from family photographs, others from life, range back and forth in time. The Story of the title refers to a painting depicting the artist and her two sisters as children in the early 1970s, snuggled up on a sofa with their mother as they share a bedtime story. Other paintings show Daryll now, alone – standing in her doorway, reclining on sofa after a cataract operation – or accompanied by Joffe, the shifts in dynamic as much emotional and psychological as they are physical but no less palpable. As Olivia Laing writes in the accompanying publication, ‘Over the years, a kind of hardening takes place, a process of separation and individuation on both sides. It’s not just that everyone gets older, but rather that time occasions a shift in perspective and visibility too. The mother recedes inch by inch, becoming smaller and harder, emerging as a person with needs and sadnesses in her own right…’

Born in 1969, Chantal Joffe lives and works in London. The acclaimed British painter has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including Royal Academy of Arts, London; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Jewish Museum, New York; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; and Neuberger Museum of Art, New York. Her work is in numerous institutional and private collections, including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Detroit Institute of Arts; National Portrait Gallery, London; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Joffe has created a major new public work for the Elizabeth line station at Whitechapel, London, which will be on view when the Crossrail station opens in 2021.

Currently on view (until 8 August 2021), The Artist’s Mother: Lucie and Daryll, featuring Lucian Freud and Chantal Joffe, is a virtual exhibition presented by IMMA, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, in partnership with Victoria Miro and Vortic, the leading virtual and augmented reality platform for the art world, and hosted on Vortic and at Inspired by two of Freud’s most outstanding portraits of his mother, The Painter’s Mother Reading, 1975, and Painter’s Mother Resting I, 1976, the presentation features an exceptional series of paintings and pastels by Joffe of her mother, Daryll, and will be followed by a gallery display of the pastels in the Freud Centre.

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