Countdown to Launch & Exhibition: ‘Objects of Desire’

10 artists, 10 weeks-Week 9. Maggie Royle

Maggie Royle

Maggie’s collection of works on paper ‘Leaving there too soon’ are full of pathos. They give me a lump in my throat and I am finding it difficult to describe and explain my reaction.

Monochromatic formalised head and shoulder portraits of fashionable 18th century women are placed alongside coloured ‘abstract’ improvisations.

The portraits are contained within a frame, like a photograph, the ‘abstractions’ float freely on the paper. There are two separate versions of each portrait one on the left and one on the right, but with different ‘abstract’ renderings.

The portraits on their own do not offer many clues. There are hints of  impending violence. A sharp knife in ‘q’ and what could be fire in the background of ‘dd’. Their future is uncertain.

The women stare out with resignation and sadness.

It is the abstractions and the portraits together that trigger an emotional response. Revealing a dark anguish behind the blank expressions of the women. Are they perhaps innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire of conflicts beyond their control?

I understand now that their fate is inevitable and imminent.

Severed heads and featureless faces are suggested as a contemporary response to the fate of these anonymous re-contextualised women long dead and forgotten.

Ruth Piper

August 2012