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Balcony in Majorca Drawing

Joanna Wilson

United Kingdom

Drawing, Graphite on Paper

Size: 40.2 W x 28.3 H x 0.1 D in

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About The Artwork

With the effect of flattening and demarcating the picture space, balconies have served symbolic and pictorial goals in art since Manet. But this modernist trope makes an appearance here as a background element, which stops it from functioning as the usual metaphor for entrapment, isolation and ennui. The mostly monochrome palette seems to suggest a sandy beach beyond the balustrade, with the characteristically craggy rocks of the Majorcan coast crisscrossing the entire composition. Playful variations of scale and a number of overlapping poses have an equalising effect on the various elements, making this piece more about pattern and contour than narrative and form. This work is one of a series produced during the global pandemic. With lockdown, Wilson continued to draw from life—albeit virtually—with All The Young Nudes, a Scotland-based online life drawing collective. The intimate yet exuberant pieces that resulted from these sessions seem to express that familiar paradox we all experienced during the pandemic: gratitude for the opportunities that technology yields, but at the same time a deep yearning for human connection.

Details & Dimensions

Drawing:Graphite on Paper

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:40.2 W x 28.3 H x 0.1 D in

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Joanna Wilson’s art is a paradox of thoughtful drawing and exuberant expressionism. Born and raised in the Highlands of Scotland, there is a lilting quality to her handling of form reminiscent of the glens where she grew up. But her figurative compositions often incorporate decorative elements, which seem to reference the industrial environs of Edinburgh and London where she has also lived and worked as an artist. Cartographical lines, organic shapes, monochrome sketches with colourful painted overlays: these are the hallmarks of a Wilson composition. Her picture spaces are animated by the tension between the human figure in all its freeform imperfection and the manmade world in which it is often confined. Ubiquitous of the human experience in a pandemic world, these dualities of freedom and confinement have rendered her art ever more relevant today. A renewed energy—not to mention a renewed sense of urgency—is apparent in her recent work. With lockdown Wilson’s practice of drawing from life shifted into a virtual space. Working from live projections in her studio, she sketches models she knows intimately but has never met. Isolation and familiarity, distance and high-definition, a celebration of the technology that brings us together yet at the same time a yearning for the way things used to be—these are the forces at play in her pictures of the past year. Her work can be found in public and private collections throughout the world. It has been selected for the Affordable Art Fair summer show in Battersea Park and displayed in airports, corporate offices and major hotels. Wilson’s home-based custom-built studio in Grantown-on-Spey is a hive of creativity, where you can usually find her multitasking (she is a mother of four), helping out a friend or “making a mess” as she so humbly puts it. In her words: ‘My art sits at the intersection of technology and humanity: where artificial, coded, rigid graphics meet the natural, free and unpredictable human form. Through a combination of drawing, painting and digital art, I explore the blurred boundaries between chaos and control, the cerebral and the physical … where is human innovation taking us?’

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