Margot’s Cosmic Sanctuary
September 8 – October 23, 2021
Andrew Edlin Gallery is pleased to present the first New York exhibition of works by the French self-taught artist Margot (b. 1982). The show features recent large-scale mixed media works on paper, a series of drawings rendered on old photographs, and a traveling notebook filled with studies of organic floral-like shapes. The exhibition space has been configured to evoke Margot’s own studio, an inner and outer sanctuary that immerses the viewer in the artist’s highly idiosyncratic vision of the world.
Nature is at the heart of Margot’s drawings, both as a source of inspiration and as a model for her organic forms. Born and raised in the rural province of Berry, in central France, she worked as a florist before embarking on her artistic pursuits. Her ancestors worked in forests and on farms, and as she recalls, “It was a simple existence, following the seasons–sowing, harvest, crop rotation.” Further connecting her with her lineage, Margot finds deep affinity with the rustic settings in the novels of another Berry native, George Sand (1804-1876), the pioneering woman writer.
Beginning in 2014, Margot experienced a compulsion to draw in a manner scholar Colin Rhodes describes as “the beginning of releasing everything that had been stored inside for years; a kind of visionary outpouring of images.” In the tradition of Surrealists drawing upon the subconscious, and akin to mediumistic artists like Agatha Wojciechowsky, who recounted how spirits took over her hands to start creating, Margot remarks of her process, “It’s fluid. I do not need to think about what I am doing or how I am going to do it. It is.”
Margot’s Cosmic Sanctuary features works from two recent series, “Creatio Universalis,” and “Tra Miaj Manoj.” The former derives from Margot’s emphasis on the unity between the individual and the universe. The latter title comes from Esperanto, the artificial language invented in the late nineteenth century whose utopian goal was to bring the world together. Using Chinese inks, pencils, pastels, ballpoint pens, and at times oil paint, Margot likes to work in large format. At first glance, Margot’s compositions look like geometric abstractions. But upon closer inspection, hybridized figures, part-human and part-botanical float to the surface, redolent of self-taught artists Guo Fengyi (1942-2010) and Charles Steffen (1927-1995).
Margot’s work was recently featured in two exhibitions at the College of Psychic Studies in London, and in the 2020 show ladies-brut at galerie gugging in Austria. Her art is held in the permanent collections of the American Folk Art Museum (New York), the College of Psychic Studies (London), and the Museum Montanelli (Prague). She is the subject of the 2019 monograph Windows onto the Infinite: Margot by Colin Rhodes. Margot’s Cosmic Sanctuary is produced in collaboration with Henry Boxer Gallery, London.