Possessing a certain archetypal allure, Chantal Joffe brings an amalgamation of insight and integrity to the genre of figurative art. Couples (2000), effortlessly encapsulates Joffe’s comical eye for everyday awkwardness and an enlivening facility with paint. Her deceptively casual brushstrokes and effortlessly slick succulent swathes of paint combine to create statuesque and vigorously depicted figures. Distorted, hybrid repetitions of human form emphasize the psychological relations of her characters to one another and to the viewer, clearly commenting on, and exploring, the notion of the male gaze and the idea of femininity being a social construct. Although initially the work gives the impression of simplicity, charm and childishness that seduces, it simultaneously disarms the viewer, encompassing a more unsettling and uncanny quality. The thoughts, emotions and even sexual orientation of the figures within the piece remain ambiguous, their exposed fleshy forms, built up from a pallet of the palest of peaches combined with tawny off-greys, transmit an almost luscious carnal power. Joffe’s distinctive style of painting offers an uncompromising sense of power and intricacy; creating works of art that possess an alarming humour that is strangely provoking.