Exhibition view, Minutiae, 2022. Photo Julien Gremaud.

Audrey Guttman & Poppy Jones & Yoora Lee & Chloe West


MAY 6TH - JUNE 25TH 2022

When the elements of daily life are viewed in detail, they transform, as if by miracle, into abstract masterpieces. This exhibition, Minutiae , brings together the work of four young female artists, each guided in their pictorial exploration by the principle of the “minutiae detail”. Through their tight focus on these crucial details, the artists paradoxically unbind the perceptual experience of the viewer. One’s mind is drawn beyond the realm of the conscious, soaring and voyaging in the presence of Yoora Lee’s vaporously intermingling bodies; of Poppy Jones’s slices of intimate interiority, or sensual flowers; of Chloe West’s rawly interlaced hands and feet; or of Audrey Guttman’s subtle collages, denouncing the world’s difficult truths.

Yoora Lee, Onset of Spring, 2022, Oil on linen, 101.5 x 89 cm.

A detail is never accidental, and never innocuous, when framed with intention. The viewer is no longer called to search for it within a vast mural, as in the case of Andrea Mantegna’s divine touch of the knee, in the bridal chamber at the Ducal Palace of Mantua—of which Yoora Lee’s work is, no doubt, a contemporary echo. Reality accommodates the meaningless detail; in art, insignificance does not exist. The artist’s choice of the scene, person, or object that she will isolate, contain, and zoom in upon stems from her desire to kindle that “pleasure of the detail” so nicely described by the historian Daniel Arasse.

Exhibition view, Minutiae, 2022. Photo Julien Gremaud.

The exhibition carries on a tradition that has existed for centuries, but gives to it a new face, beneath a contemporary eye. No 20th-century artist exalted the notion of the detail more than the Roman painter Domenico Gnoli, recently the subject of a retrospective at the Fondazione Prada in Milan. Through his brushstrokes, a hair, a buttonhole, the stripe of a necktie—a detail to which we might never have directed our attention—is made sublime.

There was a challenge to take up, then. These four artists, each moved by a passion for detail, have done it, and it is this link between them, this connecting thread, that the gallerist Mighela Shama has cleverly thought to play upon.

Exhibition view, Minutiae, 2022. Photo Julien Gremaud

Audrey Guttman, a Belgian artist living and working in Paris, begins with a detail: a driving glove, photographed for an advertisement, being swallowed by a woman’s mouth; fingers with red nail polish, pulled from a 1950s edition of Paris Match, made to form a woman’s hair.

Audrey Guttman, Les Soupirs de la Chair, 2022, Collage on paper, maple frame, 40.5 x 29 cm.

Audrey Guttman, Le Gant Sentimental, 2022, Collage on paper, maple frame, 23 x 20 cm.

After studies at Sciences Po and a specialization in Italian poetry, she became an artist four years ago. Her work has been shown at Ketabi Projects (Paris) and the Hangar Photo Art Center (Brussels), among other locals. The message of her new series, which combines collage and pigment printing on cotton paper, is clear, powerful, and scathing. She has always collected images from books and magazines and stored them away in drawers. She combs through these clippings, cutting and rearranging until the self-evident truth sometimes tender, sometimes grating—emerges.

Exhibition view, Minutiae, 2022. Photo Julien Gremaud.

Yoora Lee, a Korean artist based in Chicago, deconstructs images and reassembles their fragments, challenging our understanding and revealing unexpected parallels. She unveils bodies and attitudes in canvases that appear as if through a screen, with blue filters and horizontal streaks.

Yoora Lee, Haunted by the Ghost of You, 2022, Oil on linen, 46 x 46 cm.

Nostalgic for her teenage years, in the 1990s, and the time she spent in front of the television or on the internet, the artist aims to recompose that golden era, when South Korea’s economy was booming and the country lived fully, without worry for the future. A great melancholy floats through her depictions of bodies, which come together or come apart, depending upon one’s angle of view. Her intimate scenes of everyday life thus take on the appearance of subtle selfportraits.

Exhibition view, Minutiae, 2022. Photo Julien Gremaud.

British artist Poppy Jones, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, finds her subjects in her daily life of the Sussex countryside. It’s the familiar objects surrounding her that feeds her work, such as a curtain pierced by day light, a jacket bathed in blue ocean, or a flower bud which blooms in a very sensual way. The artist starts with photographs that she transcribes onto a fabric support painted with oil and watercolour and finally builds her own aluminium frames for each of her pieces. She usually excels in small formats. For the first time and on the occasion of this new show, she goes beyond this scale with a new work of 40 by 33 cm. Her eye captures the fragility of everyday life, the elusiveness of life, leaving an imprint on the support that already seems to have a patina of time.

Exhibition view, Minutiae, 2022. Photo Julien Gremaud.

Born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and based in St. Louis, Chloe West (awarded a Master of Fine Arts by Washington University, in St. Louis, in 2017) explores the body and its relation to the spaces it inhabits.

Exhibition view, Minutiae, 2022. Photo Julien Gremaud.

She paints the complexion and surfaces of different skins in moments of intimacy, her raw tones evoking the bliss or pain of these instants. She takes her repertoire from the medieval era and the Renaissance, and Dutch and Flemish painting in particular. Her naked bodies appear as if vanities. Are the corporeal fragments she paints those of her own womanly body?

With each of these four approaches, there is much mystery to be deciphered in the minutiae…

- Text by Béatrice de Rouchebouet (Grand reporter culture Le Figaro) May 2022

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