Goxwa at Axelle Fine ArtsDecember 15, 2010
The mystery has been solved and all is now clear. Axelle was rebranding its Chelsea gallery as Axelle Bertrand Delacroix Gallery because they are creating a new gallery with a focus on emerging artists. Axelle Fine Arts is relocating to Soho (will Soho again be a major gallery center) and the Bertrand Delacroix Gallery will operate in Axelle’s Chelsea space. Both continue to be owned by Bertrand Delacroix but we’re delighted to tell you that Tim Smith has been promoted to Gallery Director for Axelle’s Soho location. Let me give both galleries fair warning: make your openings on different days – I don’t want to choose.
Leave it to Axelle to make the Chelsea closing show a lollapalooza! – a solo show by Goxwa (pronounced Josh’-wa). Poor Goxwa, with nothing going for her. Let me see, she’s a painter, an actress, a playwright, has been a waitress and is probably 007 in disguise, plus she’s beautiful. Born and raised in Malta, educated in Europe and the US, and currently lives in France. Wouldn’t we all love to be her.
Well, Goxwa produced a brilliant solo show. She works strictly in encaustic (a difficult and unforgiving medium but excellent for hot, moist climates) with a palette knife. She succeeds in creating mood, delicacy and boldness with contained slashes of her knives. Almost all of the paintings were sold by the close of the opening reception. With average prices in the $17,000 range, in early December, in a touchy economy, that says something about the quality of the work.
I’m partial to her moody landscapes. Day seems to be evening, evening is surely evening. Her palette is atmospheric, the sites are enchanting. Literally, enchanting. Imagine yourself transported by a genie to a mythic place. My favorite is Pompeii Landscape. I cannot imagine growing tired of this or any others in this class.
However, most of the people at the opening preferred her female figures. You can see that these are self-portraits by an actress who has imagined herself in a variety of roles. But the roles aren’t fully fleshed. She’s developing a storyline for each character. Each is emerging from the fog of idea into well-defined construct.
I’m not a big fan of self-portraiture. Artists like Laurent Dauptain who can’t find anything more interesting than their own faces leave me cold. Yes, I know that Rembrandt painted his self-portrait many times. I’m still bored by self portraits. Except Goxwa’s. These are interesting as well as being fabulously executed. I want to see where these characters go.
The one thing I haven’t yet mentioned is use of color. Generally, her use of color is subtle, with bold red highlights. This holds whether she’s using a dark or golden color scheme. The only failures for me were the floral sprigs which were simply bland cream on beige things.
Do go and see this work. Goxwa is a major painter; she will hang in museums if she doesn’t already Her work will be up at Axelle on W. 25th Street through December. If you can’t get to the show, look online at http://axelle.com.