The exhibition INTO THE WOODS announces the Jules Maeght Gallery’s second year in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley. INTO THE WOODS features works by contemporary artists --- Marco Del Re, Luc Doerflinger, Joanne Easton, Cécile Granier de Cassagnac, Velia de Iuliis, Laine Justice, Brett McCormack, Kal Spelletich and Justin Teisl -- in a range of techniques and media: painting, sculpture, drawing and installation. The works selected coalesce in the service of storytelling through image-making. Drawing from fairy tales and folk legends, the international artists in this group exhibition explore dreamlike and expressive themes creating haunting landscapes, strange environments, mysterious people and creatures that are at once magical, ominous and compelling.
New York based artist Brett McCormack highlights with his black and white intricate paper sculptures the predatory systems of the forest, in which life is indeed reliant on death. Velia de Iuliis echos this dichotomy with her hyper-realistic paintings of insects and snakes that are at once poisonous and scary, yet can aid in healing processes and medicinal innovations. French artists Luc Doerflinger and Cécile Granier de Cassagnac’s haunting representations of animalistic forms in gouache and watercolor revisit childhood nightmares, suggesting a forest filled with characters from Brothers Grimm tales. Marco Del Re mixes technique and mythology, incorporating both Greek and Biblical tales into his linocuts, each then painted individually by hand. Laine Justice’s magical composite creatures painted on paper scrolls draw on Persian mythology, populated by imaginary humans and animals offer a forest scene more akin to a chaotic dream than a place of repose or reflection.
Joanne Easton’s more conceptual work integrates artificial materials with discarded tree branches, exploring the boundaries between the quotidian and the mystical in reference to the longevity (or lack thereof) of art itself. Justin Teisl’s epoxy and acrylic paintings display our conflicting ideology towards the woods, at times visceral, at other times bordering on abstraction. Finally, local artist Kal Spelletich’s interactive tree robots exude grace in the face of fear. Spelletich’s robots encourage active engagement with the physical while interrogating how machines can support our spiritual tendencies.
The forest is a primordial locus and has always been representative of the unknown or the unconscious; it is a landscape replete with darkness, cruelty and dream-like qualities. The artists selected for INTO THE WOODS explore the effects and affects of the forest, the complex interplay between positive and negative space, which underlines our concurrent fear and fascination for the space the woodlands occupy in our lives and imaginations.