Henrietta Dubrey

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5th February 2021

 

'Sleek' 2019 66 x 53 cms...


...at Livingstone St Ives 'Vision' online exhibition,

exploring female subjectivity, beauty, and perceptions of self.

1–28 February 2021

 

 

 

4th February 2021

A collaboration with House of Hackney and Livingstone St Ives:

Paintings for The Castle of Trematon Treasure

 

“Henrietta Dubrey’s female nudes are ferocious; primitive, boldly linear and curvaceous; they face the viewer centrally, frontally, with a knowing confidence. Set against flat, brilliant backgrounds of solid colour, despite their comparatively muted flesh tones, visually they engulf the surface plane as the focal point of attention. These are pieces which through rapid and determined painting a tangible sense of movement and poise communicates itself forcibly. Depicted with faux-naïve simplicity with more than a nod to primitivism, these figures are unabashed and luxurious in their femininity, the sex stark and strangely integrated into the geometric formation of the body. Inspired thus by the giants of linearity, Picasso, Le Corbusier and Hockney, Dubrey brings us a thoroughly contemporary image of the female, draped in cutting edge or avant-garde clothing. Indeed, sensitive to forward thinking fashion and the diffusion of imagery through modern photography, this is made apparent in the strong sense of unwavering focus throughout the works; that an image, once conceived, is rapidly recorded onto canvas with ruthless efficiency.”

Quoted from Olivia McEwan June 2014 ‘An introduction to Henrietta Dubrey's figurative art’.

 

Image courtesy of House of Hackney

 

This selection of paintings, all figurative bar one, have been chosen specifically for the Castle of Trematon Treasure because of their unique style which correlates expressly with the ethos of the House of Hackney's new Cornish venture. The voluptuous female figures which feature regularly in Henrietta Dubrey’s paintings complement the luxurious surroundings and decorative nature of the products available in this current collection.

 

I shall write about the inspiration and background to the individual paintings in relation to this collaboration between myself, Frieda Gormley the co-founder of House of Hackney, and gallerist Alicia Livingstone of Livingstone St Ives.

 

 

In ‘Elle Dort’ (80 x 110 cms) we see a reclining figure, filling the frame of the canvas; her sculptured, cubist nature describes her naked repose as she snatches an afternoon nap in the late Autumn sun. Inspired in part by Picasso’s ‘monstrous women’ this rounded female is confident within her body and not afraid to be seen.

 

 

‘Blink’ (94 x 118 cms) is an abstracted female. Like a foreign figure, a traveller or an exotic alien, she arrives on the scene with open arms, bringing with her warmth and sunshine. This style of painting is more typically seen in Dubrey’s works on paper. A more lighthearted approach to the depiction of the human condition.

 

 

‘Hors d’Oeuvre’ (130 x 105 cms) is a purely abstract painting from my imagination. The pear like shape feels like a seated woman, grounded by the dark circle where her buttock would be. The title suggests nourishment and food, taken I imagine in an outdoor setting, on a verdant green lawn. The small red circle/dot, a device often used, creates an accent, the cherry on top, as it were. Again, the colour palette is reminiscent of mellow autumnal colours.

 

 

‘Promise’ (78 x 61 cms) is my Amazonian wild woman. She is strong, determined, ambitious as she stands proud upon a diffuse pale pistachio ground.

 

 

‘Odalisque’ (23 x 34 cms), named after looking at the famous nudes of Ingres, is as the name suggests an exotic, sexually attractive woman. This abstracted figure reclines on a sandy beach, near a pool of water, fleshy and voluptuous in her abandoned pose.

 

 

In ‘Life Study’ (130 x 105 cms) the young woman sits with her arm propped up on a pink armchair. The simple depiction of her form in lines, triangles and circles blends with details of hair, fingers and facial features, all in soft pinks and yellows accentuating her femininity. The distorted depiction and simplification hark back to some of Picasso's muses during his cubist period. Like many of Dubrey’s muses, this figure is from imagination, recalling images from magazines, other painters, family photographs, all synthesized into a universal being. The pose reminded me of the many hours spent as a student at the Royal Academy Schools, in the life room, the model seated for long periods of time and captured in some sort of reverie.

 

 

‘Kin’ (94 x 118 cms). In this painting I am exploring female relationships, be it those of sisters, daughters or friends, the idea that women have an intuition, an understanding and a certain unsaid empathy between them. The two young women in this painting are probably not related, their physical attributes opposite, yet they are obviously close, like sisters, dressed in the same deep mustard coloured velvet, surveying or just quietly observing something in the middle distance. There is an ambiguity in their stares, a togetherness yet at the same time a sense of naivety whilst they assert their burgeoning characters.

 

Also on display at Trematon Castle:

 

         

 

         

 

         

 

         

 

Henrietta Dubrey February 2021

 

 

 

Notes from 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2011-12

 

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