Thérèse Oulton

Marlborough | London

Someone wrote a piece on Thérèse Oulton and titled it Fairy Craft; there have been others in a like vein: Painted Dreams, Marketing Magic, In the Dark Wood. No one, let alone a babe, could possibly find a path through the metaphorical thickets, the choked vegetative folds of Oulton’s painterly world. They would die for lack of air. Ambitious early works like Space for Leda, 1983, and Old Gold, 1984, were fit for the gods, or rather goddesses. The kind of thing a latter-day Artemesia Gentilleschi might have painted were she not compelled to do Judith topping Holofernes. Since then Oulton seems to have fallen to earth, even penetrated its bowels—there are quantities of fire and brimstone in Tremolite, Precipitate, and in Alloy (all works in this show 1989), a surfeit of that “yellow fever” which so drove Thackeray to distraction in late Turner. There are also younger ghosts invoked in these

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