The artist brings a combination of insight and integrity, as well as psychological and emotional strength, to the genre of figurative art. In these recent works, the sense of mobile immediacy that distinguishes Joffe’s paintings is intensified. Focusing on parents, friends and herself in scenes of leisure and domestic life, she forcefully brings the images to life using colored pastel sticks on fine-toothed paper.

Although drawing has always been an integral part of Joffe’s practice, pastel offers a number of unique challenges and opportunities. Joffe described the absorption, as well as the highly physical experience of making the work, the thickly applied pastel building up with a luminous purity that is distinctly different from the act of painting and the way in which painting is done. oil behaves on canvas or cardboard. “You can get a kind of brutality with pastel that you can’t with paint,” says Joffe. “With painting, there’s always an extension of your arm and your brush. Whereas pastel is so primitive. You can’t draw hard enough.”

This highly visceral process of laying down lines, shapes and colors serves to condense an ever-palpable sense of connection between artist and subject in Joffe’s work. Conveying both the physicality of her engagement and the movement of the human bodies she depicts, these works draw on complex narratives about perception and representation. Ostensibly depicting scenes of daily life – a windswept walk along the beach, the artist’s daughter, dancing, sewing or putting on a shoe – the works in this exhibition alert us to the infinite nuance of bodily expression and the myriad ways in which we reveal ourselves and communicate an emotion, such as happiness, sadness, confidence, doubt or even distraction, consciously or not.

Born in 1969, Chantal Joffe lives and works in London. She holds an MA from the Royal College of Art and was awarded the Royal Academy’s Wollaston Prize in 2006. Chantal Joffe: Pastels will take place from April 14 to May 19 at the Victoria Miro Gallery in Venice, Italy.



Chantal Joffe Self-Portrait Bending Over, 2015 Pastel on paper 47.6 x 37.8 x 3.8 cm 18 3/4 x 14 7/8 x 1 1/2 in © Chantal Joffe Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London / Venice

Chantal Joffe Vita Reclining, 2016 Pastel on paper 37.8 x 47.6 x 3.8 cm 14 7/8 x 18 3/4 x 1 1/2 in © Chantal Joffe Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London / Venice



Chantal Joffe Vita Reclining, 2016 Pastel on paper 37.8 x 47.6 x 3.8 cm 14 7/8 x 18 3/4 x 1 1/2 in © Chantal Joffe Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London / Venice

Chantal Joffe Esme Sewing III, 2016 Pastel on paper 37.8 x 47.6 x 3.8 cm 14 7/8 x 18 3/4 x 1 1/2 in © Chantal Joffe Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London / Venice



Chantal Joffe Esme Sewing III, 2016 Pastel on paper 37.8 x 47.6 x 3.8 cm 14 7/8 x 18 3/4 x 1 1/2 in © Chantal Joffe Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London / Venice

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