“I am interested in embracing what others may see as physical imperfection or vulnerability.” Jocelyn Lee’s (b. 1962) portfolio of photographs offer intimate moments, recording the physical world through a tender engagement with the subject matter. The collection, on show at Huxley-Parlour Gallery, London, includes portraits, landscapes and still life, giving a raw and honest look at life’s transitions; through birth, growth and death. Celebrating each stage through a vivid use of colour, the images are rich in implied narrative, providing new perspectives on perceived notions of beauty, sexuality and family.
For example, images from the most recent series, The Appearance of Things (shown above), depicts female forms interweaved within organic environments. Submerged in water or dappled with sunlight, Lee’s sitters are captured truthfully, each work evading idealisation in favour of authenticity. Questioning established conventions, the images offer a new, diverse vision. The artist explains: “I want to expand the notion of the beautiful to include the more vulnerable stages of life, including adolescence, pregnancy, middle age, old age and illness.”
The portraits are juxtaposed with bold, painterly compositions of decomposing flowers and aging fruit. Echoing tropes and techniques used in 17th century Dutch still-life painting, Lee’s use of memento mori imagery emphasises the impermanence of the mortal world, whilst a rich colour palette accentuates the tactile qualities of fauna and flora. By reflecting on the breadth of art history whilst addressing contemporary concerns, the photographer’s body of work rewrites tradition, presenting a subtle yet powerful statement about the female experience.
Until 11 May. Find out more here.
1. The Bath, 2016 © Jocelyn Lee courtesy Huxley-Parlour Gallery