If anything, I would love to secretly watch Peggy while she's at work. I don't get that with many artists, but whenever I'm in that studio with the beautiful view over the IJ, I want to become the silent witness of Peggy in action. Somewhat hidden behind the now colossal monstera plant, I see the space is starting to work as a kind of podium. Almost as if she is dancing, the brush becomes an extension of her limbs, the strokes the traces of a choreography. In trance they determine the power of her emotional life, of that which emerges from within her. A performance in solitude, but how graceful and vital. Sometimes saturated, other times radiant on the surface, the brushstrokes seem anything but coincidental. They accurately span the entire emotional range, in constant rapture and movement, strongly fueled by color. With Peggy it shimmers, never subdued or flat, but as an explosion of the entire spectrum. Purple, pink, yellow, red. Pronounced colors on the fierce side, enhanced by that broad brushstroke. You are drawn to the performance like a child to cotton candy and with the same eagerness you want to take in the work. The holes, empty spots, often in the middle, enhance the glowing sensuality, making you want to disappear into that yearning image.
You could see Peggy in the tradition of abstract expressionism - I saw a biography of Pollock on the couch - and she feels indebted to artists like Joan Mitchel and Lee Krasner, but she is not really a painter in the strict sense. She paints with passion and dedication, but those paintings are rarely the end result for Peggy. Later in peace and quiet – the studio is a studio again – she takes a photo of it and that photo becomes the work. We keep seeing a part of the wall, a background or the light coming in from those large windows. Almost as if she wants to bring something from 'home'. The paintings themselves are given an extra touch on photo paper. They almost seem 'more real' than the original work. They become objects that you associate even more with the physical. What was subjective, individual and personal in her studio, enters into a dialogue with us, with me, in the gallery. Before you know it, you're that other person in an unstoppable pas de deux.
When she was still at art school, Peggy’s work was sometimes seen as being too 'feminine' but I saw an equal weight of masculinity in it. Oh, please stop using these opposites. While 'female' was a kind of swear word for Lee Krasner, especially as the wife of a mega star, that no longer applies to Peggy. I can even ask her if she was ever a ballet girl without being stigmatizing. "I'm much too clumsy for that," she says as her ponytail sways back and forth and I find the exact opposite. At the same time, she stands up to make that mural anyway and I see a previously unnoticed toughness in her movements.
In addition to the five photographic works, a part of the wall from her studio is also included. Wooden panels with painted patches of curtains will make the gallery even more of an extension of her studio. Visible in one of the photos as an echo, a resonance of what once was and part of that making process in shimmer and melancholy. I wasn't there, but I was also a bit (and maybe something with that monstera next time). D.S.
Peggy Franck (Zevenaar, NL, 1978) lives and works in Amsterdam. In 2006 she completed her residency at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, and she has been an artist in residence at Künstlerhaus Bethanën in 2010-2011 and at the Luceberthuis in 2015. Her exhibitions include: 'Peggy Franck & Freek Wambacq' Arcade Brussels (2020); 'You Begin' Arcade London (2019); 'August' PSM Berlin (2018); 'In Rocking Motion,' Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (2009). She has participated in several group shows such as 'Palm Tree' Billytown (2020), 'Virtuoso! Israels to Armando' Frans Hals Museum (2019), and 'Nieuwe Streken' Museum Hilversum (2017).