01 November - 07 November 2023
Combining food and art, nostalgic objects and the ultimate fetishes, Juicy! is the inaugural solo exhibition by classically-trained contemporary artist Florence Houston. Taking place at J/M Gallery this November, Juicy! sparks an interesting conversations about the intersection of art, history, and gastronomy.
Juicy! offers an experience that engages all the senses, showcasing a collection of monumental and dramatic paintings centred around the enchanting theme of Victorian jellies. Mysterious yet captivating, Juicy! also features a selection of still life paintings depicting pills, flowers and plastic bags filled with colourful fruit.
Taking place in the heart of London for a limited time, this unique exhibition will transport viewers into a bygone era through a contemporary lens. Celebrated for her whimsical paintings, Florence Houston’s array of luscious and elaborate jelly designs capture the essence of Victorian elegance and extravagance. Through vibrant colours, intricate patterns, and nostalgic charm, Juicy! explores the fascinating history and cultural significance of these gelatinous delights.
Both comic and monstrous, giant and miniature, these painted jellies were designed with food stylist Lou Kenney to capture the different characteristics of each jelly based on their size, colour and shape. With meticulous attention to detail, Houston’s series of stunning paintings pay homage to the Victorian era's obsession with jellies as both a culinary delight and a symbol of social status.
Connoting something sexy in today’s pop culture, “jelly” in Victorian times had a very different meaning. From the opulence of royal banquets to the creativity of home cooks, Victorian jellies were not only a culinary delight but also a symbol of sophistication and status. Victorians created these incredible wobbling, gleaming jelly sculptures that they used as centrepieces on a table. By exploring this unique aspect of Victorian culture, Florence Houston invites viewers to reflect on the ways in which food and art intertwine to shape our collective history and identity.
Commenting on Juicy!, Florence Houston says: “Juicy is a word I’ve always used to describe something that excites me as a painter, its a colour or a texture or a brush stroke, even the paint itself as it comes out the tube. It’s a primal feeling that guides me from subject to subject and that unites this body of work. I really enjoy taking something that feels disregarded or unimportant and painting it seriously, really cherishing it. There’s something comedic about it but I also want to show how beautiful those things can be. It’s very satisfying painting a plastic bag or a jelly using exactly the same material and technique that’s been used to paint centuries of Kings, Popes and other pomp and glory. All my work focuses on beauty, I feel very sensitive to it, finding it and recreating it in my paintings feels like my like my ultimate goal”.
Florence trained for four years at an atelier in Florence called Charles Cecil Studios, and now paints from her studio in London using the same classical techniques that have previously been used to paint objects and people of great importance for centuries. Both satisfying and comedic, her work focuses on depicting mundane and everyday objects. From elevating a plastic bag or a plate of sandwiches to a similar level of reverence, she is attracted to painting subjects she considers beautiful and nostalgic that are seemingly disregarded or unimportant. Florence has shown in several group shows, including The Royal Society of British Artists and on multiple occasions with The Royal Society of Portrait Painters.
Opening Party is Wednesday 1 November from 6 pm.
For media enquiries and further information please contact Suzie Meller at SM Art & Culture: firstname.lastname@example.org.