Process based and labor intensive, Pauline de Roussy de Sales’s silkscreens and etchings, by nature, inform the content and composition of the work. Both mediums allow the artist to work additively, as if on a collage, which gives her the freedom to layer. The works are visual capsules of mixed eras and fused cultural aesthetics often held together by an element of fantasy. “Picnic on the Grass” is a good representation of different variables coming together in one image because of its nod to Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’herbe as well as tying in the classic genre of mother and child. It also sources the Biblical story of John the Baptiste who, in the silkscreen, is a baby girl, holding the shell with which he would one day baptise Jesus. Mary and Elizabeth are tenderly gazing at their respective children. A distinction is made by gender since neither John nor Jesus are male and only women are present. Picnic on the Grass is not particularly religious but the spiritual element is an autobiographical reference to the Pauline de Roussy de Sales’s all girls Catholic school upbringing, from which she often draws visual or plot-line inspiration. Her work is sometimes cluttered with information, brimming with small scale details that intentionally force the viewer to explore and rummage around. The invitation to search through a myriad of layered treasures and details, each item noting a thought, a memory, a time or place is the works’ main attraction; a labored Where’s Waldo for those who share fond childhood memories.
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