Catalogue essay for the exhibition, Mes Prédatrices by Marie Peter-Toltz
Slag Contemporary, Brooklyn, New York, 28 April – 28 May 2017
'Je Suis Le Tigre Dans La Montage'
Having worked with Marie Peter-Toltz occasionally over the last two years (contributing on her recent projects Downtown Demoiselles and Signs of Life) it is intriguing to note the latest collection’s expansion on the thematic imagery, allusions, and techniques present in her earlier paintings. This broadened focus seems to simultaneously expand and conceal each work’s independent and collective meaning.
As for creating dialogue between poetry and art, I chose to focus on three works: Shakti; Je Suis le Tigre Dans la Montagne; and L’éternel Féminin. I feel these are the most translatable, which is what I enjoy about your art. The process is shaped by, not only the artist and subject, but also largely dependent on the viewer’s projected feelings. Through this dialogue, I set out to decode your messages and translate them through the images created in my mind, the memories evoked and ultimately distilled back into my own artistry. This is the beauty of art as language, adding to the universal, timeless qualities of the collection as a whole; the shared collaborative space.
The creative goddess, the protective spirits, and the omnipresent search for self; each indicative of the artist’s attempt to articulate herself through the same layered brushstrokes that concurrently obscure her identity. Foremost in the paintings are the strong biblical and mythical allusions (notably Eve and various Aztec/Hindi spirits) that Peter-Toltz utilizes in order to tap into the universal search for identity in the creative-feminine self. In Womanlove, Peter-Toltz presents the creative goddess as a portal of potential for dormant femininity. The spirit’s positioning in the center of the scene and above the vulnerable, sleeping subject signifies the unconscious desire to elevate oneself through creativity; the window as the portal through which this feasible. With flowers overflowing from the goddess’ mouth, Peter-Toltz portrays the limited means of expression in the feminine sphere; the flowers (symbolizing creativity/fertility) simultaneously express and stifle the goddess’ means of communication. With a powerful stance, paintbrushes in hand, the goddess creates herself within the construct of her limited space, posing the question, ‘What if Eve created herself?’ This is a demonstrative and commanding sentiment. Though she is still partially obscured and unable to be fully realized in the work, the independent goddess becomes a symbol through which woman can tap into her primitive, creative self, if only through abstraction.
A similar theme is carried into Infinity Totem, shifting us to a protective Aztec mother wearing an opulent turquoise beaded necklace, while shouldering the full weight of her child. The beads, a symbol of distinction in Aztec culture, also serve as a restrictive leash or noose, trapping the mother in the same construct that elevates her. As the jaguar lurks behind them, emblematic of the independence and solitude of the feminine spirit, the viewer can intimate that not only will the mother and child will be ultimately protected, but each successive generation is assured greater enlightenment and independence.
Perhaps the most captivating of Peter-Toltz’s works is the studio shot in which she herself becomes the creative goddess.
Kneeling at the feet of L’éternel Feminin, Peter-Toltz is enveloped within the cycle of creation, cultivating the portal that gives life to her own feminine creative self. It is a snapshot into the process of innovation; a hall of mirrors that illuminates the universal timelessness of self. Marie becomes Eve, the primal goddess, snow leopard, tiger, and jaguar all at once – the feminine narrative passed down generationally through sacrifice.
by Rocío García Nuez, Artist and Professor at the Academy of Bellas Artes in Havana (Cuba).
This new series of paintings are essentially metaphors of memory, childhood souvenirs sublimated together with her color palette and the lyric atmosphere in the paintings.
It's very interesting to view how a single character moves in various scenarios, managing to convey different emotional states or suggesting different stories.
This character clearly refers to the artist as a child herself, it is articulated in a very original genre of self-portrait, but not from the simple reproduction of the Self before the mirror, but coming from different references, the incidental and the poetic.
This proposal leads me to a reflexion, who are we but what we were when we were children? …
Technically, Marie exploits very interesting pictorial resources, mixing an expressionistic painting style together with subtle romantic atmosphere, thereby her work is able to engage with an atypical form of spirituality that is of our ‘modern times’, and this is precisely why they
These paintings exhale the precious scent of authenticity.