'An Accessory for Abstraction - The Paintings of Marie Le Lievre',
MFA Catalogue, Robin Neate, 2008

In Marie le Lievre’s paintings Freudian theories of psychosexual sublimation arise from deep shadowy pools of paint to mingle with totemic embodiments of power, prestige and the desire to shop.

On its twisting, side stepping, back flipping acrobatic journey from the caves of Lascaux to the Tate Modern it could be said that painting has gathered “a lot of baggage”. The accumulation of significant-and-influential movements or celebrated-but-now-redundant stylistic shifts (often overburdened with dubious commentary and pseudo-philosophy) can weigh heavily on a contemporary painter’s shoulders. To make this load a little easier Le Lievre’s solution has been to take the notion of “baggage” literally and bundle the legacy of colour field painting into handbags. Or, to be more precise, painted shapes that resemble handbags.

This figurative intervention coupled with amorphous abstract forms not only repackages and updates colour field’s stylistic tendencies but also brings to the fore psychological and sociological associations. Notions of neuroses, consumerism and gender are revealed alongside already present symbolic and phenomenological readings fostered by an abstract veiling and layering of colour. Leaving paintings that are open ended and engaging enough to both invite and yet defy final analysis.