Friday, 8 April 2016

Allen Jones: Maîtresse

Really enjoyed this exhibition of Jones's Maîtresse series of paintings that began originally as a movie poster commission for the 1975 Barbet Schroeder film Maîtresse - which related the tale of an obsessive, sadomasochistic relationship between a petty criminal and a professional dominatrix. It is the first time all of the paintings in the series have been exhibited together.

Jones kept the original painting out of the public eye after the films release, and in 2008 began to revisit the Maîtresse theme as an exercise in colour and form. I think he handles colour really well, and I like the way he uses hues from the warmer end of the spectrum to reflect the racy subject matter. I also like his use of slabs of thick impasto paint on the picture surface as a conterpoint to the slick, shiny latex costumes of the dominatrix and the harsh stage-lighting effects.

Loved the sly reference to a certain French artist in the painting above. On the ground floor of the impressive Mayfair building in which the exhibition takes place is one of Jones's life-size sleek sculptures of a cool, shaven headed maîtresse, and some developmental drawings which show his thought processes for this series of paintings. 

Allen Jones: Maîtresse
until 29th April
Michael Werner Gallery
22 Upper Brook Street