Sunday, May 16, 2010
Marion Wagschal in Conversation - Battat Contemporary
To witness Marion Wagschal's work is to be confronted with a delicate but firm power. With her compacted spaces, raw subject matter and attention to detailing, this Montreal-based painter's work occupies a space which for me lies between the edge of Schiele and the decorative embellishment of Klimt. Yet, at the same time, Wagaschal has a style all her own that explores a depth of subject matter that enthralls the viewer.
I had the pleasure of listening in on a conversation between the artist and Jake Moore, Director of the FOFA Gallery at Concordia University. It really was a privilege to be able to deepen my understanding of the works on display at Battat Contemporary (until June 5) through discussion of process, inspiration and interpretation. Jake's bubbly and personable nature brought forth an effortless, casual yet thoughtful conversation about Wagschal's career, her focus on the figure, her dedication to social realism and her process. The world of Wagschal's canvases comes to life on the canvas through intense detailing, a process likened to needlework by the artist, working out the nuance of the scene and its ashen colouring. The canvases resolve themselves.
While the subject matter is immediately and apparently intense, Marion has a calm considered air about her. Her world may be intense, but on the surface, she does not have that harsh edge. But I did sense her assiduous dedication to her work, charmed by colour, curious about drapery, always wanting to see her inspiration to its rightful end on the canvas. The drapery of her canvases, as the artist noted, brings the loftiness of baroque drapery to a more visceral human level. The artist embraces the psychological and explores memory, aging, gender, bodies, relationships and our lived realities. There is an honesty in her work, and a depth, these statements on canvas have not been arrived at easily. Wagschal confronts a raw reality and works her canvases into alternate spaces, miasmas of texture and faded colour.
Marion Wagschal's recent work can be viewed at Battat Contemporary until June 5.
Images of Wagschal's paintings courtesy of Battat Contemporary website.