Making space in the contemporary for the genres of portraiture and still life painting has been an interest of Yvette Coppersmith’s for many years. The paintings that feature in her new exhibition Companion Piece are euphorically romantic as much as they are elegant. Paying homage to her relationships with others and re-configuring personal narratives; her paintings accentuate a will to view her various everyday surroundings and companions as muse. Resisting traditional approaches and classifications of still life and portrait painting, she is committed to creating new histories for each genre to borrow from one another; asking the viewer to question their ways of looking.
Mostly figurative in style, the paintings that feature in Companion Piece on closer inspection also combine and transform objects into figures, while figurative elements can melt and give way into paintings of pure abstraction. Her new works shuffle and organise flatness and depth, scale and weight with colour palettes that incite joy, comfort and desire for the viewer. Hand-painted grids and dynamic graphics are paired with warm floral compositions; generous applications of oil paint cast small and pitted shadows across the surfaces of her canvases, and vignettes frame montages of intimate and removed moments of lyrical imagery and playful motifs.
Inclusive of friends, dates, acquaintances met at parties, and ex-lovers, the subjects that have inspired Companion Piece intercept the solitary conditions often associated with studio painters, asserting Coppersmith’s favoured motive for painting to operate collaboratively. Her colourful canvases combine abstract elements with representational elements to create highly personal, filmic narratives; ones that afford the willingness of another’s participation, resulting in aesthetically charming works that illuminate the virtues of intimacy.