This autumn Waterhouse & Dodd will be showing Juliette Losq's work for the first time. In her recent work the artist has drawn subject matter from a number of borderlands around London. This includes a disused railway line that previously joined Finsbury Park and Highgate, the River Wandle in Wandsworth and the Feltham Circles. Losq is interested in places that are neglected and environments bordering on the edge that are at the same time both enticing and slightly threatening to the viewer. The artist says her aim is to, " evoke an uncertain world hovering at the edges of a symbolic 'clearing', where wilderness and chaos oppose civilisation and order, and in which beauty and neglect are interchangeable."
Losq is a landscape artist, but one for whom the landscape is almost a backdrop for man-made structures. Losq's paintings can initially look like bucolic visions of the English countryside until the viewer notices abandoned buildings strewn with graffiti for example. Yet the artist is not making a comment on man's destruction of the natural environment. In fact, she is revelling in the unusual beauty these structures - and their brightly coloured graffiti - add to the vistas. In these environments, Losq places the viewer in worlds that border our city and where the wilderness of nature and urban life merge.
Although Losq uses a traditional medium, the washes, resists and painstakingly applied inks push watercolour to its limits and produce richly detailed paintings on paper. In addition, the exhibition will also include some of her larger works, which give a stage-set feel and allow the viewer to fully immerse themselves in her vision. Sentinel , a sculptural collaboration with the furniture designer David Penrose extends the idea of deriving beauty from the mundane as the furniture becomes functionless, decorated in pylon inspired motifs and supported on detailed foliage patterns which cascade to the ground. Additional works in the show include the Dioramas series , which reference Victorian mobile theatre devices and paper cut outs. Here the viewer is invited to look into and through layers to seek out hidden images even when these are not present. Other influences include the Hudson River Group, Samuel Palmer and Picturesque and Gothic styles from the 18 & 19th Centuries.
Born in 1978, Losq initially studied History of Art at the University of Cambridge, before achieving her MA in 18C British & French Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2001. A few years later she returned to education, enrolling at Wimbledon College of Art to spend three years studying painting and afterwards she went on to get her PG Dip in Fine Art from the Royal Academy schools, in London. Losq has been selected for numerous awards, in 2005 she won the Jerwood Drawing prize. She was also selected for the prestigious John Moores Painting Prize in 2014, shown at the Walker gallery in Liverpool, where she was winner of the Visitors' choice award.
The curator of the exhibition, Jamie Anderson, first came into contact with Losq's work after seeing her painting at the Royal Academy Summer exhibition in 2006 and subsequently attended both her interim and final degree show at Wimbledon. Waterhouse & Dodd are now thrilled to be offering Juliette her first solo show at the gallery. Anderson comments that, "In a sense, Juliette's work is the perfect fit with our contemporary programme at Waterhouse & Dodd. Collectors of earlier paintings will find much to admire in her technique, particularly her handling of light and water. Contemporary collectors will, we hope, enjoy the edgier nature of the subject matter and the ambition displayed in the larger multi-layered works. It is particularly satisfying to work with Juliette having admired her work for so long."