NG Collective Studio’s Laura Naples tells us how the work of French couturier Madame Grès inspired her recent series Lift and the intersections between performing arts and design that inform her painting.
“At a vintage book sale, I once picked up a small volume about the work of the mid-century French couturier Madame Grès, and it is one of my favorite possessions. I feel a connection to her method of folding and draping layers of fabric into forms that recall elements of architecture and sculpture. In fact, the designer first desired to become a sculptor, then a ballerina – an early aspiration I also shared.”
“The intersection of visual and performing arts, design, and style has consistently informed my visual expression, and Grès’s work illuminates a point of view that I love to channel through the medium of paint on a two-dimensional surface. I imagine the way the elegant lines created by Grès’s fluid jersey or silk might look in motion, revealing the curve of a breast or angular hip bone underneath the surface as the fabric sways and skims.”
“Grès often worked with light or dark neutrals – sometimes monochromatic, other times with a line of contrast, such as a pale ivory gown accentuated by a dark line along the waist. I’m similarly interested in energy created by a dark line as it crosses over or slinks along an adjacent lighter form, and how its presence impacts the rhythm of a composition. I’m also captivated by Grès’s subtle light-to-dark textures formed by lines of folded fabric, and apply elements of those qualities onto a flat surface by mixing together diluted acrylic hues of differing values to reveal subtle gradient variations through the brush application and subsequent drying process.”