Rise Gallery in Croydon has gained well-deserved attention for its work with emerging artists and an impressive programme of international exhibitions. Hailed by Londonist as ‘The Man who invented Croydon’s Art Quarter’ owner Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison opened Rise in 2014. The Gallery boasts Damien Hirst and Banksy amongst its previous exhibitors and has done much to change the face of the South London suburb’s art scene.
New exhibition Invasion and Metamorphosis from French artist Juliette Clovis is no exception. In her debut UK solo show Clovis presents a range of striking monochrome portraits made from painstakingly cutting vinyl applied to shining black Perspex backgrounds. The word intricate is not strong enough to describe the huge complex patterns she creates, sketching them first before transferring her designs to plastic. The medium is extremely unforgiving with only a small mistake meaning the whole thing needs to be started from scratch. Nevertheless Clovis has an impressive output with 18 works for sale in this display. The surreal figures are often based on famous women from history depicted largely in black and white but with striking red lips and blue or green eyes. Iconic figures such as Catherine de Medici are presented with a ferocious modern sexiness, fleshed bared but more often than not face shrouded in a Venetian style masquerade.
Although the works are technically stunning the harsh aesthetic is a little much when presented with a whole room of them. Clovis also includes some new ceramic pieces however which show a softer side to her work. Again presenting the female figure with head shrouded, the new works are small white busts which play with different textures. Lilium Regale is a particularly gentle and arresting piece where the figures face is covered in delicate curling petals.
In what must have been a last minute addition to the show Clovis includes one blank square of black Perspex entitled Paris 13/11 a sensitive and moving tribute that speaks volumes whilst being totally silent.
Invasion and Metamorphosis runs until 23rd December