Eve Woods

by | 20 Dec, 2018

Eve Woods’ pictorial research arises from interest and study of social and cultural substrates where suburban phenomena come together to generate myths and urban legends, as well as pseudoscience to which the weaker social strata address with renewed interest.

In an era of digital overcrowding and overexposure of images and news, not always truthful, Eve Woods records anxiety impulses that appear in contemporary society on the pictorial surface of her paintings through the contrasting use of bold colours.

The social structure is the frame in which, and through which, social action takes place. By that the artist gets to make them an integral part of her artistic repertoire, which is manifested in the frame of a framework in which the “collective psychic representations” form (Émile Durkheim, The Rules of Sociological Method, 1895).

Woods’ pictorial practice, therefore, assumes a therapeutic value since in her paintings she is able to demystify the social phenomena. The use of bright colours, the speed of the stroke and the compositional gesture are the expression of that unease, that dominates contemporary culture and it is extrinsic in the eclectic world portrayed by the artist.

The anxiety of existence is a theme often dealt with in the history of art and it is apparent that Woods looks at artists of the past who have abstracted this theme through figurative art. The strongest reference is to Eduard Munch’s painting, the Norwegian artist who at the end of the 19th century transfigured reality in The Scream (1893). The same expressive charge is found in violent colours used by Eve Woods. The dramatic contrast of the background, characterized by nervous and repeated traits, makes a disturbing figure emerge as obscure prelude.

Angular and tormented linearity, such as the chromatic contrasts that contribute to a sense of disharmony and precariousness, are a strong reference to German Expressionism art, in particular, to Ernest Ludwig Kirchner who expressed with the same figurative charge the sense of anxiety that populated Berlin in the early 20th century. The strong references to this artistic current are traceable in the choice of cold-stained, acid-like colours, with nervous traits.

In this latest collection of works, which also gives title to her latest solo exhibition, Smile (2016-2017), the artist shows for the first time her personal experience bound to the world of dreams and, more specifically, nightmares. The vivid perception of a recurring dream has aroused the curiosity of the artist who turned her attention to discover the oneiric significance of teeth. Acting as Titaness Mnemosyne, she names and circumscribes the objects surrounding her figuratively by investigating at the level of introjection the subject treated in her artwork by cognitively sweeping it from many points of view. With a graphomanic approach she takes note and collects every similar treatment to the exploration of holistic disciplines as well. In this succession of images and information, Woods’ nightmares come to life on the canvas along with icons from Master artists of the past, depicting the horrors of the mind. The Aragonese painter Francisco de Goya with his famous design The dream of reason generates monsters (circa 1797) or The Nightmare (1781) of the Swiss Johann Heinrich Füssli are celebrating examples of how artists have always relate to the dream world even before it was analytically described by the father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud.

In a Sturm und Drang of emotions and images, Eve Woods introduces us into unusual interpretative visions, as a careful observer of the art of the past while remaining consistent with her artistry and returning, through a figurative sense mediated by her perception of reality, a world increasingly characterized by anxieties and disadvantages.