Materiality and femininity:
The art of Anne de Villeméjane
By Dr Barbara Stehlé
Anne’s work goes beyond portraiture to reach the essence of womanhood.
Anne de Villeméjane’s work explores femininity; she creates delicate, elongated, quiet women. Their poses are reflective, pensive, maybe pre-occupied even. The artist depicts women from the point of view of her inner life, as the works go beyond portraiture to reach the essence of womanhood.
Originally a photographer and painter, Anne soon became drawn to sculpture.
The artist first explored photography, then shifted her focus to painting, exploring the intricate shapes of the flamenco. People were attracted to her colorful representations of Spanish dancers or nudes; the figures were all at once sensual and distant. The women had no gaze, and their body attitude and movement revealed more than their facial expression. Villemejane’s painting seemed close to confession but unafraid of confrontation.
Villeméjane later began to specialize herself in sculpture. Her work underwent metamorphosis, as the figures previously seen in her paintings found new life in sculpture. Cast in bronze or built in cement, they found their rightful expression, as their three dimensional physicality gave them a new existence. Despite their slender form, their presence took on weight, and their surfaces exposed a heterogeneous materiality as well as a multitude of abstract traces. As we moved around them, the figures accessed our reality, and gave us a peek into theirs. The threshold between their world and ours became very thin.
With a play on materialization and dematerialization, Anne’s work reflects a textural journey
Lately Villeméjane’s women appear less vulnerable, standing more erect than before. Their faces express a certainty of being, somewhat mirroring the Egyptian portraits of Nefertiti. The artist creates incomplete masks in metal, dematerializes bodies in acrylic, and plays with scale as well as our imagination. Villemejane’s imprint on her sculpture’s surface and her feminine poetry becomes fully distinguishable.
The artist’s latest experiments have revolved around the use of construction materials: metal grids, washers, wires, and nails of all sorts. Exploring beyond the traditional bronze, she delves into both the material and immaterial: from the raw feel of cement to the transparency of acrylic, the artist evolves easily from industrial modernity to jewelry like finish. Her play on materiality nurtures the expressivity of her art.
The foundry as her canvas.
As a sculptor, Villeméjane has evolved into a remarkable technician. Forever searching for new means of expression, she has come to master the complexities of several making processes. Passionate about foundry techniques, the artist immerses herself fully, aided by technicians to perfectly complete each project.
Villeméjane’s ease to create is paired with a determination to challenge herself. In her confrontation with materials, she continues to question her own feelings and thoughts. If you need answers, don’t necessarily look into her pieces’ eyes, look at their textures. All is there.
“Although in repose, Anne’s sculptures seem to pulsate with life”
Jay Bordage, Art Professor
The foundry as a canvas
@ Anne de Villeméjane l All rights reserved
Special thanks to Beacon Fine Arts and Modern Art Foundries for their beautiful spaces which inspire me.