14 September - 11 October 2006
la femme is a base coat, quite literally a foundation, but it’s also a shield and something of a camouflage. The work’s planar surface is made-up to match the discontinued shade of ‘la femme’ and it sports its un-modulated tone with unabashed self-contentment and resilience.
If the face is a text, faciality then presupposes an exchange which takes place within a social and often extremely public space. And it is in between such complex social constructs that Paul Johns has positioned this enigmatic invocation of face to face relations.
Sandwiched between the glass windows of The Kiosk, la femmecertainly looks like it’s got something to sell. Here the downmarket sophistication of neon is played off against the quiet flickering resilience of two tungsten light bulbs left to amuse themselves at a distance from the work’s vertical elements.
la femme’s unusual allure is something of a proposition desiring attention and poses more questions than its discreet charms will care to answer - on a first glance at least. It’s an obscure cipher, a new born relic. Comprised as it is of ambiguous elements la femme’s host of dark nails devilishly punctuate the edges of its canvas surface while its slick electrical charms work their insidious magic behind the Kiosk’s panes of plate glass.