Review: A Place in Time


Emily Wolfe – Slant of Light | Melanie Roger Gallery | October 22 – November 15, 2014

Walking into Melanie Roger Gallery you are immediately faced with a number of almost square and subtly evocative snapshots of time. The actual time represented in Emily Wolfe’s work is uncertain whereas the location can easily be placed. The outline of the brick buildings which can be seen through the windows, the gossamer curtains, floral wallpaper and the enveloping grey tone all typify the history-soaked London borough surroundings in which Wolfe now resides.

Wolfe is described as a painter of absence and light and these two themes are captured strikingly in Slant of Light. Reflected Light is not the only piece in this show which renders shifting light coming from outside of the frame; it takes us to an almost surreal landscape of memory, a place of whimsy but with a sinister edge, not unlike a perhaps unfounded recollection of one being put in time out as a child.

There is no bodily presence but the ghost of inhabitance is ever-present, such as in Overcast with a twisted curtain pull falling beside the diaphanous window hanging, or the considered floral arrangements depicted in Quiescent. An overarching sense of being drawn into the depth of a fabricated memory is an interesting facet of Wolfe’s work, as the works themselves do not illustrate any sense of physical depth. The highly finished paintings appear faded, haunted by the ethereal movement of light and shadow.

It becomes increasingly effortless to get lost in a world of daydream when faced with Wolfe’s paintings; however the stark white frames that encapsulate the paintings on the right wall bring the viewer retreating back to the present. Additionally, Foxed offers an insight into a potential new direction for the artist. Portraying a blank, faded piece of parchment paper held up by two pieces of masking tape with her signature light falling onto the object, the work signals a more abstract form of composition.

Foxed has come out as the overall favourite of the show. Looking around at current trends in modern decor and design it is no surprise to find that this work is a standout for art audiences and collectors. This new direction seems to be an easy transition, for artist and viewer alike, as long as we do not find it too difficult to say goodbye to the constructed realities Wolfe’s other works have transported us to upon leaving the gallery.

Tina Matulic

All images are courtesy Melanie Roger Gallery

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