Shown in this exhibition are drawings created during the early years of motherhood (2012–2017), where a sense of warmth and nurturing is felt. The earlier work is often semi-abstract, conveying lyrical, imaginative dreamscapes.
The latter work shows a combination of large- and small-scale painting that’s brought together like a fragmented storyboard: ‘gems and important fleeting moments of time’. Increasingly gestural marks have been adopted by the painter. Layers of paints using acrylics and oils are crafted with fluidity, and determination in alla prima (complete in one session or little reworking).
Old and modern masters have explored similar themes of parenthood, such as Thomas Gainsborough’s portraits of his daughters, Margaret and Mary. Delicate portraits by Chardin and scenes of 19th Century domesticity, women and children by Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt, and paintings by Chantal Joffe have influenced Woo MacGregor. Like many of these painters, Woo MacGregor invites the viewer towards a different perception of modern family life; one that is autobiographical, contemporary; woven with artefacts lifted from the artist’s travel, literature and popular culture.
“Portraits of my daughters explore bi-racial identity, rites of passage and ambivalences of childhood dreams and fear. My children are often the protagonists in my work. I am bringing forth an intimate and close understanding of my muses and models, as well as adding another layer to the portrait that is less tangible; an edginess that is beguiling or dream-like – taking the viewer beyond a likeness portrait. There is an other-worldly quality that comes to the surface. All is not what it seems, and most crucially conveying a personal feeling to the subjects.” – Elaine Woo MacGregor (October 2022)
To view Maman et Muses by appointment, please contact the artist on 07947300794 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There will also be a free drop-in and draw event with the artist for families on Saturday 18 February, 1pm-2:30pm that you are welcome to attend.