The artist Joanna Mortreux describes how once, in a museum she was struck by the mummified remains of ‘bog man’. The shriveled body of a man who, in crouching position behind the glass cabinet, had lived over two thousand years ago. This simultaneous present and past colliding made her almost giddy.
Mortreux's artistic practice is about creating entities or forms that resonate with awkwardness and an uncertain state of flux. They are not of the present but are suspended in the present moment. Between painting and ceramics, her work explores the tensions, fragility, and uncomfortable process of being. In playing with this idea she depicts in an anthropomorphic and almost sensual way the monuments, artifacts, and sculptures that make up our collective human history. References are eclectic and purposefully so, ranging across many cultures and multiple historic periods so that the forms and figures emerging have a universal and almost timeless feel to them.
These precarious and evolving forms reference the enormity of our collective human histories as well as a tension between the image and the reproduction of the image. Fragments are recycled, with her hand-built ceramic forms reappearing in sections of paintings. Both her sculptures and paintings at times mirror each other like ‘mise en abyme’ and highlight both a loss in translation, as well as the infinite reproduction of being. Suspended in an eerie twilight zone these works are about potential. Not entirely clear whether the work is in construction or a state of collapse means there is no fixed point and this unraveling creates a space for potential narratives to emerge.