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Storm Tharp (B. 1970)
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Storm Tharp (B. 1970)

Jodie Jill

Details
Storm Tharp (B. 1970)
Jodie Jill
inscribed 'JODIE AND WHAT SHE MEANS' (upper right); titled 'JODIE JILL '(lower left)
ink, gouache and coloured pencil on paper
58 x 42 3/8in. (147.3 x 107.4cm.)
Executed in 2009
Provenance
Galerie Sébastien Bertrand, Geneva.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2010.
Exhibited
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, 2010 Whitney Biennial, 2010 (illustrated in colour, p. 109).
London, Saatchi Gallery, Paper, 2013 (illustrated in colour, p. 179).
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VAT rate of 20% is payable on hammer price and buyer's premium
All sold and unsold lots marked with a filled square in the catalogue that are not cleared from Christie’s by 5:00 pm on the day of the sale, and all sold and unsold lots not cleared from Christie’s by 5:00 pm on the fifth Friday following the sale, will be removed to the warehouse of ‘Cadogan Tate’. Please note that there will be no charge to purchasers who collect their lots within two weeks of this sale.

Lot Essay

’… I’m thinking about how weird realism is and how dangerous it is to get stuck in it, for me. And I think that’s why I like the abstract parts of the paintings’ (S. Tharp, quoted in B. Gilsdorf, ‘Interview with Storm Tharp’, in Daily Serving, 4 January 2010, www.dailyserving.com/2010/01/interview-with-storm-tharp).

With its dreamlike, evanescent surface, Jodie Jill, 2009, bears witness to Storm Tharp’s unique approach to portraiture. A surreal female figure emerges from a washed red background, her light-blue wavy hair framing delicate facial features, appearing before the viewer like a half-glimpsed vision. The woman’s cheekbones, chin and eyes are thrown into dark relief against the whiteness of the paper. The ink’s fluidity causes the nostrils and eye sockets to splay outwards, as if poised on the brink of physical dissolution. Inspired by Japanese calligraphy, Tharp uses ink as an extension of the psyche, mirroring its unexpected focuses and elisions. As though mimicking the act of forgetting, Jodie Jill’s face blurs and disappears in a cloud of marks, liquefying the subject’s physical presence before our very eyes. In this sense, the work witnesses Tharp’s fascination with the boundaries of figuration and abstraction. As he himself explained, ‘I like details, but I prefer not to have to rely on realism. So when the work can speak for itself and come on its own terms because of the materials, ink and water bleeding, I think that’s the best part. All of the other things, the clothing, the hair, the setting, that’s all just in aid of the more naturally found noises. … I’m thinking about how weird realism is and how dangerous it is to get stuck in it, for me. And I think that’s why I like the abstract parts of the paintings’ (S. Tharp, quoted in B. Gilsdorf, ‘Interview with Storm Tharp’, in Daily Serving, 4 January 2010, www.dailyserving.com/2010/01/interview-with-storm-tharp/).

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