“She Came to Stay” is a novel published by French author Simone de Beauvoir in 1943 as a fictional account of her and Jean-Paul Sartre‘s relationship with Olga and Wanda Kosakiewicz. Set in Paris on the eve of and during the Second World War, the novel explores many existentialist concepts such as freedom, angst and the other.
Rook and Raven’s exhibition of the same name explores many of the same existentialist concepts through the work of five female artists, Paula Rego, Eileen Cooper, Marie Jacotey, Lucy Farley and Annie Kevans.
In the exhibition, arranged in association with Marlborough Fine Art, the five artists explore different aspects of the theme, with a blurring between printmaking and original art. Paula Rego’s work displays her trademark of magical realism, narrative works imbued with mystery that links to her Portuguese heritage; works in which the viewer explores the mysticism and the symbolism of the human spirit while Eileen Cooper’s work has her characteristic touch of a printmaker about it, as she explores motherhood, life and death.
Lucy Farley has a preoccupation with space and the need for humans to reclaim their territory. Her works are abstract but challenge the viewer to see them as windows from which to use their imagination to look both inside and out while Annie Kevans’ paintings reflect her interests in power, manipulation and the role of the individual in inherited belief systems. She looks at alternative histories and how they relate to current issues and creates what she describes as ‘anti-portraits’ that may or may not be based on real documentation.
Marie Jacotey is a newcomer, having graduated in printmaking from the Royal College of Arts in 2013 and is already making her mark. Her work explores the relationship between young adults and comic art, and has a depth that goes beyond the immediate comic book graphics, with the exhibition including one work with multiple images specially made for this show.
A exhibition which needs the viewers to immerse themselves in the works – each of the artworks in this show has a multiplicity of meaning and depth of symbolism.