In her latest solo show, Sydney artist Jane Gerrish takes us to the glamourous Côte d’Azur of the 1920s and beyond, revealing the captivating detail of master Henri Matisse in his studios.
Working as a painter, set designer, makeup artist and costume designer, Matisse’s adoration of women is explored through a series of painstakingly researched, fine drawings, with bursts of exuberant colour, reflecting the ‘Joie de vie’ of the period.
Unlike many of his peers, Matisse thought of his women as creative partners, treating them with great respect and admiration. Often plucked from their lives as actresses and dancers in vibrant, Nice, Matisse would pose his concubines in amazing costumes, placing them in wildly theatrical harem stage sets.
Accompanying this exhibition, Jane Gerrish gives us a written guide with detail and timelines that serves to contextualise the period and place us as select spectators in these intimate studio settings.
In her works we see and learn about Matisse’s use of sumptuous tasselled cushions; huge gilded mirrors; tarnished pewter pitchers; carved Moorish screens; inlaid Turkish daybeds; pottery from Fez; porcelain from China; Persian carpets and his familiar richly patterned textiles.