Arts Review: Dead Precious – Rochelle Haley solo exhibition – Galerie pompom

Over the weekend I found myself in the simple yet elegant Galerie pompom, gazing upon Rochelle Haley’s mesmerising exhibition ‘Dead Precious’, on the final day of its showing. Comprised of thirteen water colours on paper, the collection captures an intriguing combination of sparkling precious gems, nestled amongst crisp clean skeletal remains.

Rochelle’s inspiration stems from a fascination with how stones and bones are connected throughout history, with the initial catalyst for these artworks spawning from a recurring dream of a multi-faceted stone housed within the abdominal cavity of a turtle’s skeleton. Her interest has taken her to the Natural History Museum in both Paris and London and the Smithsonian in Washington D.C, where she studied and recorded animal skeletons that would later become the subjects of her highly detailed art.

Images such as ‘Bird on a Rock’, outlining a perfectly delicate bird’s skeleton perched upon a large pink shimmering gem, showcase the beautifully pale hues of colour used throughout the works, as well as the intricate shading that brings a true sense of realism to every bone. ‘Stranger’s Stone’ features a golden bird’s claw clasping what is an amazingly realistic rendition of light refracting through clear faceted stone, whilst ‘Union’ accentuates the radiance, shapes and curvature of various types of pearls.

Water colours are a challenging medium and Rochelle comments from experience that committing to brushstrokes is essential, as mistakes can’t be fixed and hesitance reflects itself easily. The pain staking effort and minute detail in each fine bone and brilliant gem make these artworks not only an incredible feat, but also quite breathtaking and transfixing. Whilst the link between the two vastly different subjects may seem macabre to some, what can truly be appreciated here is the wonder and beauty of nature, in all of its forms.

Image ‘Golden’ courtesy of Galerie pompom, copyright Rochelle Hayley


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