Gallery: Geneviève Seillé |
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Geneviève Seillé

After the unchained ravings of Cultural Studies, the second most dreary way of writing about any kind of art is to trace influences, so Geneviève Seillé is simply asking to be buried under irrelevant commentary. She is influenced by everything: an art-collector artist. But what matters is how she gets above it all. A basic image that started its life in a cave somewhere under France forty thousand years ago will be decorated by layer upon layer of patterns drawn from more recent traditions. No doubt some of her attendant explicators have already mentioned Australian Aboriginal art, which she has clearly seen, and Japanese silk kimonos, which she has probably worn. Many of her mixed-media drawings start out as collages and just keep on growing richer and more intricate, like cells becoming tissue. (Look deep enough, and you find that whole areas of each picture are covered with tiny writing, whether in letters or numerals: random pages from some primordial scriptorium.) Eclectic is the first word to reach for, but should be the last to determine our judgment, because every picture is much more than an assemblage: it’s a concentration, pulled together with unsleeping centripetal force. The apparent hunger for a synthesis, however, is meticulously selective: only the best bricolage will do for her, and a unifying form invariably emerges. The glance should linger, because the divinity is in the detail, and what would already look good on a T-shirt looks amazing after a long search. When my assistant Cécile showed me Geneviève Seillé’s England & Co gallery catalogue Crossing the Sea of Ink, I was immediately knocked out, and then progressively knocked awake.

Click here for Geneviève Seillé's biography.
Images: courtesy of England & Co. gallery.