Georgia Russell — Time and Tide


Collage, mixed media

Georgia Russell
Time and Tide

Ends in 2 months: October 14 → December 30, 2016

The Galerie Karsten Greve announces Time and Tide, the second solo exhibition dedicated to Georgia Russell in its Paris location.

After an exhibition at the Bayer Foundation in Leverkusen at the start of the year, and coinciding with a four-month programme dedicated to the artist at the Museum Pfalzgalerie in Kaiserslautern, Time and Tide offers French audiences a chance to see her most recent experimentation. Her work has always been constructed around notions of rhythm and repetition — in both gesture and form — through which the artist, plunging herself into the minutiae of cutout, brings out the potential energy of the material.

Georgia russell spore karsten greve gallery paris medium
Georgia Russell, Spore, 2016 Acrylic on cut canvas, plexiglas — 29 1/2 × 4 3/4 in © Georgia Russell Courtesy Galerie Karsten Greve Köln, Paris, St Moritz


In the hands of Georgia Russell, the scalpel, her specialist working tool, creates a latticework that plays on the contrast between form and void, clarity and obscurity. Her oldest works were created through the media of pre-existing papers: old photos of landscapes were completely re-invented by the swirls of light formed by the cuttings; the rhythm was embedded in the regular cuttings of musical partitions. Old books were exploded towards the boundaries of objects to form flamboyant and totemic figures. Her new works on canvas, still linked to an idea of landscape, bring to mind the stormy seas of William Turner or Gustave Courbet, whose piece Trombe was the source of inspiration for the work of the same name presented in this exhibition. The very regular rhythm of the musical partitions finds an echo in the white cut-out canvases. The format of the book is also questioned once more, because it is deprived of its primary quality: words. The canvas books of Georgia Russell negate the transmission of the knowledge which they are supposed to carry. They represent the final deconstruction: mute books and empty paintings.

Georgia russell dawn karsten greve gallery paris medium
Georgia Russell, Dawn, 2016 Acrylic on cut canvas, plexiglas — 74 3/4 × 55 × 6 1/4 in © Georgia Russell Courtesy Galerie Karsten Greve Köln, Paris, St Moritz


The idea of time is central to the work of Georgia Russell. In her paper works, this can be seen through the reappropriation of images from the past, as well as the deconstruction of the format of the book, while creating a new relationship to the object. In her new work, the time is that of nature, but also that of painting. Having investigated the possibilities offered by old photographs and books, Georgia Russell is now engaged in a reflection on colour and abstraction. This turning point is marked by a return to traditional materials, such as the canvas and the paintbrush, although her artistic process, which never abandons the idea of creative destruction, remains anchored in her cutout technique. The artist’s canvases are the result of a painting challenge that starts with the choice of colours and shapes to arrive at the creation of landscapes based solely on intuitive memories. Like with found objects, that have been subject to a violent act of cessation, in her recent works she tears apart the fruit of her own efforts, destroying and recomposing the canvases that she has first painted. The stroke of the paintbrush, its direction and the rhythm of the pictorial gesture are blown apart by the direction of the scalpel cut, as well as by the contrast between the empty cutout shapes and the parts of the canvas that haven’t been touched. Certain pieces, such as Escarpment, multiply and complicate this process, in which they are constructed by several layers of canvas superimposed and intertwined.

Georgia russell inlet karsten greve gallery paris medium
Georgia Russell, Inlet, 2016 Acrylic on cut canvas — 118 × 197 × 6 in © Georgia Russell Courtesy Galerie Karsten Greve Köln, Paris, St Moritz


The waves of the exhibition title refer to the tides of the Scottish seas that Georgia Russell painted outdoors this year, changing colour with the passing of every new cloud. The artist’s large canvases must be seen from different points of view, as the interplay of cuttings transports us to a different atmosphere for each perspective, recalling the variations of tone and colour typical of her country of origin, whose fluctuations can be appreciated throughout the day and night. In the new works of Georgia Russell, the waves are reflected in the movements created by the relationship between the cutting and the painting, which intermingle to create pieces on the borderline between painting and sculpture and demand a shifting perspective on the part of viewers.


Georgia Russell studied Fine Art at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, then at the Royal College of Art in London, where she did a Masters in printmaking. She has participated in many international exhibitions, particularly the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Het Noordbrabandts Museum in the Netherlands and the Bayer Foundation in Leverkusen, Germany. She received a grant from the Royal College of Art, which contributed to her arrival in Paris, and her work has been purchased for important private collections. She lives and works in Méru, in France.