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16 MARCH - 16 APRIL 2023
Coline Marotta- March 2023 - DSC08384 copy.jpg
Coline Marotta- March 2023 - DSC08517 copy.jpg
Coline Marotta- March 2023 - DSC08541 copy.jpg
Coline Marotta- March 2023 - DSC08596 copy.jpg


Remembering Now: The Paintings by Coline Marotta

“All of them already exist, that’s why I felt I could paint them. They come from life, not night dreams but hundred percent daydreams.” - Coline Marotta, 2023

At first sight, the evocative paintings by Coline Marotta seem to be centered around the behavior of the characters, and the effect of light in these seemingly intimate and somewhat self-referential scenes. Spending time with Marotta’s paintings, however, is to see them change. Subtle gestures - a head tilting, the hint of a smile, a bird passing by, rippling waters - move in and out of the viewer's attention, as each painting begins to unfold as an act of seeing and remembering.

We sense our dreams before we can speak of them. So it is with the evocative color scheme of Marotta’s paintings; partly composed of burnt orange, pine green, high blue, and blushy reds, it affects us pre-reflectively. Standing in front of Marotta’s paintings, we sense the amorphous figures first because they are red and because they are alive.

Seamlessly moving between inner and outer worlds, the literal and the metaphorical, the dream and the world as we know it, Marotta’s soft anatomies are absorbed in their own landscapes. Previously cast in interior settings, the long-limbed figures now bleed into nature: an arm becomes a shelter, a hand a seashell, duo-readers cuddle up on the beach. The airy green-and-bluish tableau of Keeping Mistakes and the Fear of Painting (2022-2023) demonstrates the immersive, dream-like qualities of Marotta’s acrylic paintings, drawing the viewer into an enticing maelstrom of colors, gestures, conversations, emotions. The perspective is tilted and the contours slightly blurred - as if we look down at the dinner scene through the rippling surface of water, or rays of sunlight scattered amidst the pine trees. Eager conversations over shared seafood and the clinking of glasses blend with the sound of the Mediterranean crashing against the cliffs of the Calanques. Or, that’s how the painting would sound like. The series was painted at her residence in Marseille, in the south of France, but its effect is more of an ephemeral impression, as felt not seen, of the landscapes per se.

Marotta’s paintings maintain some of the spacious, if not metaphysical, capacities of the French language to articulate presence of absence. The spaces left empty between her gestural brushstrokes of diluted acrylic on the canvases are as arresting as the amorphous, red figures. They hold space for doubts. Daydreams left unfinished, but not incomplete. Marotta paints exactly what she wants (us) to see: a hazy memory, almost washed away. Memories are not stable; they are always dynamic, told and retold, altered, affected by our state of mind in the present, retrieved in glimpses, never wholes. That’s how I remember it.

Coline Marotta (born 1991) lives and works in Marseille, France. She holds an MFA from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts from 2017, and has since exhibited at V1 Gallery (Copenhagen), Mine Project (Hong Kong), Tennis Elbow (New York), and Public Gallery (London). Night Email to Friends is her second solo exhibition with Brigade.

- Amanda Færk



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