Juliètte Jongma

Donna Huddleston

09 Sep - 21 Oct 2006

Donna Huddleston
Summer House
9 September – 21 October 2006

Galerie Juliètte Jongma proudly presents the first solo exhibition in the Netherlands of Donna Huddleston (1970, UK).

In Summer House, Donna Huddleston combines water colour drawings and sculptural elements in an overall installation that emphatically enhances the gallery’s intimate quality. Drapes, fruit baskets, shelves, and a room divider transform the exhibition space into a stage-like rendering of elegant domesticity, in which the objects themselves typically reveal ideas about femininity and theatricality.

Through delicate aesthetic interpretations of historical genres like Art Deco, and references to the more applied side of the oeuvres of early 20th century avantgardists like Malevich and El Lissitzky (notably their theatre costume designs), Huddleston creates a world inhabited by rosy-cheeked rope-skipping girls, and harlequin-like women dressed in elaborately patterned cloaks. Her female protagonists are dramatically elegant yet strong figures, commanding control over their surroundings and the viewer’s gaze with their deft hand gestures and hypnotizing, otherworldly expressions. Most images contain more or less identical figures, repeated several times, sometimes slowly fading, resulting in a soft translucent layering of watery paint and slight pencil lines. The fading repetition of formal elements is an important stylistic device in Huddleston’s water colour and pencil drawings – it suggests a certain systematic approach to the drawing process, and at the same time destabilizes the meaning of forms represented, and their interpretation.
The three-dimensional objects in the installation are further elaborations on the motifs present in the water colours, and propose a habitat for their extravagant female figures. Central to the installation is a room divider, which turns the front space of the gallery into the ‘stage’, emphasizing its presentational function. Ceramic-and-wax sculptures of domestic objects like fruit baskets, and drapes complete the Summer House.

Donna Huddleston lives and works in London. She was one of the five artists shortlisted for last year’s prestigious Max Mara Art Prize.

© Donna Huddleston
The Pretender, 2006
Watercolour and pencil on paper, 50 x 60 cm

Tags: Donna Huddleston, El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich