Jardin du Midi
Tessa Perutz’ first solo exhibition at the gallery, Jardin du Midi. Perutz’ immersive installation features paintings of abstract, spiritual landscapes, which share the space with a large embroidered textile work and a thick carpet of lavender flowers from the Lavanderaie des Hautes Baronnies, coating the entire floor of the gallery. The lavender’s calming scent provides an environs of tranquility and reflection, in which the viewer is presented works that explore the depths of natural worlds, life cycles, and collective memory. The simultaneous individuality and universality of these considerations resonates strongly, revealing the works as landscapes of the soul.
Specific sceneries and substances in the works are chosen as mementos, demarking periods in time. By utilizing these locations and materials, the artist explores nature’s capability to unify viewer and maker, as well as the sharing of memories via the familiarity of the landscape. Perutz produces works that memorialize people and experiences through direct visual sensations. Motifs of bodies of water, forest canopies, botanicals and the sun and moon play freely in her works, opening up spaces to consider personal and universal themes of connection and separation.
By incorporating materials such as sand, lavender and hibiscus Perutz references the healing properties found in nature. Influenced by traditions in Eastern medicine, the artist aligns the artworks as also referencing Western practices such as herbalism, naturopathy and other disciplines. The physicality of the materials works in harmony with the visuals of the landscapes, gracefully balancing colour, rhythm and symmetry. For the first time, Perutz includes these materials in the paintings themselves, mixing in sand sourced from various locations to create texture but also to physically integrate places and ritual into the artworks.
Notions of spirituality are also key; in both personal and more interconnected ideologies. Concerned with the cyclical nature of life and afterlife, the artist repeats specific abstract and representational motifs to simulate the recurring waves of energy found in all life forms. Allusions to natural symmetries or patterning, via reflections in water, sun cycles, or split horizons, reflect an inquiry into the infinite nature of regeneration and rebirth - constant in both the human and natural worlds. In this way, mirroring is used frequently as a philosophical device.
An essential element in Perutz’s practice is colour, often reminiscent of psychedelia. A wide palette is used to delineate familiar forms, which become wondrous and dreamy, evoking feelings of wanderlust. Fields or forests are depicted in vivid hues of tropicalia, freeing them from notions of temporality of geography. Mixing signals for night and day, the works exist a fantastical world which is available to us only through Perutz’ unique vision.