27 October – 26 November 2013
“From my earliest memories, I have drawn, and my subjects were always people. It has been a lifelong fascination, my love of the beauty inherent in every person. It is my hope that this is what comes through in my paintings and that in some way people will be conscious not so much of what society calls beautiful, but the kind of uniqueness I see in each person. I hope ordinary people will begin to see the extraordinary beauty in themselves.. While people may not always do great things, there is the potential in each one of us, and that is what I see and hope to convey. I have never seen a person that I think is ugly, and I have never found anything in nature as lovely.” J.J. Foley
After a recent vacation where she spent two weeks in Spain, JJ Foley (USA) was most enchanted with the city of Valencia. As she walked through the city she was struck by the bold light, the warmth of the people, and the positive energy. She longed for a way to get back, to sit and draw what she was seeing. She had only one day in Valencia but it had the most impact on her, and it was the place she missed the most on returning home.
Foley’s goal during her residency in Valencia was be to spend time observing people in and around the city, going about their lives, and to make drawings and paintings of what she saw. She aimed to capture that boldness and light, which indeed had a profound effect on her paintings when she returned back to my studio after the first visit.
Her work is figurative in nature. She lives in a rural, small town in Mississippi that does not afford opportunities for sitting in outdoor cafes or observing people on foot as they move through their day. She used her time in Valencia to capture the spirit of the place, the beauty of the people juxtaposed with the old and the new architecture, bathed in the kind of light she became mesmerised by…
Following her successful residency in Valencia, JJ asked to take part in session based in Manchester. She has had a different kind of experience in the UK, firstly because of the longer timescale of the residency, which has allowed an even more deep immersion in her work, and also because of her response to the environment i.e. food, weather etc. Working with local models, she has used the time to explore the use of colour in her paintings, arriving at a point of greater understanding of the use of colour to depict character and emotion in her figure drawing.