Jules Maeght Gallery Goes 'Into The Woods'

Jules Maeght Gallery Goes 'Into The Woods'Cécile Granier de Cassagnac. (Photos: Stephen Jackson/Hoodline)
Stephen Jackson
Published on October 30, 2015

"Into The Woods", the latest exhibition at Hayes Valley's Jules Maeght Gallery (149 Gough St.), was unveiled on Oct. 15th to a packed crowd excited to see a variety of work from artists aro the world. Curious, we took some time to poke around the new show with gallery manager Luc Sokolsky, learn about its curation, and—of course—take in some spooky art just in time for Halloween.

According to Sokolsky, the aim of the show was to bring together artists with varying styles to transform the gallery into a Brothers Grimm fairytale. "We sought to bring together things both fascinating and fearful. The art in the show is either frightening and intriguing, or represents a way to tell a tale," Sokolsky told us. 

First, we took a look at the work of French artist Cécile Granier de Cassagnac, whose ink and watercolor birds seem both beautiful and unsettling. Although not from a specific Brothers Grimm story, Sokolsky pointed out that "this is just one way to tell those fairy tales, and we can't look away from things that scare us." 

We continued on to a 60-foot scroll partially displayed against the south wall, containing narratives from Hindu and Buddhist mythology, represented in a colorful and symbolic language and created by Healdsburg artist Laine Justice. "She uses the colors and characters she creates to tell epic stories," said Sokolsky. "Using the scroll form as a visual poem is another way to tell a story that you can get visually lost in. She's definitely less spooky, but the storytelling part is why we were attracted to her work." Another similar scroll can also be found displayed vertically in the front of the gallery. 

Moving to the front of the space are some lithographed accordion books that were printed by Jules' father, Adrien Maeght, between 1974 and 1982. The books depict classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales such as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, using once again a symbolic language, this time created by Maeght. "They are an important part of the gallery's history," said Sokolsky. "The printmaking has always been there. It shows that the idea for this show goes back further than just the present day." Included in the inner flap is a key for decoding the visual story told between the covers.

Prominently displayed as you walk in from the street is a collection of work in multiple mediums by French artist Luc Doerflinger. The collection, entitled "Infuse, Diffuse", falls on the spookier side of the exhibition and provides the viewer with quite a bit to take in at once. "This revolves around the difference between reality and the dream state, and the relationship between the painter, the art and the audience, and how they relate to the ideal image and underlying meaning of the work," Sokolsky told us. 

On the opposite wall, you'll find a selection of gouache paintings made by local artist Velia de Luliis. According to Sokolsky, these paintings were also selected for their elements of both fright and fascination, and are centered around a medicinal theme. "All of these things are poisonous in their natural states but we can use them to create things that are very useful," he said.

Finally, we headed back to the rear of the gallery and stepped inside New York City-based artist Brett McCormack's immersive installation, made entirely from hand-formed paper. "We wanted an installation that encapsulated the idea that the forest is both full of fear and full of awe," said Sokolsky. "You stand in it, and even though it's beautiful, you're surrounded by evidence of death."

The show also features the work of Marco Del Re, Joanne Easton, Kal Spelletich, and Justin Teisl. It will be up through January 30th, so there's still plenty of time to stop by and take a stroll into the woods on your own.

Learn more about the gallery in our November 2014 profile, and see past exhibitions here