L’autre valse is a painting currently exhibited at Le Dame Art Gallery by Stephanie Noblet, aka Mademoiselle Zazi, our chosen Artist of the Week. The image, like others in her oeuvre, centres on the solitary female form; the delicacy and fragility of the subject mirrored in her choice of medium. Indeed, the use of watercolour washes and ink suggests insignificance, transparency and the ephemeral: she is a fragment (emphasised more commonly in Stephanie’s other works with the re-working of the traditional format of the portrait bust) and can easily be erased. It is particularly interesting in this case that the model in this painting is the only one in her collection, which does not engage with the viewer. Stephanie’s work is tinged with emotion and is often a response to past and present situations and relationships; the model facing away is therefore deliberate – she actively encourages the desire to look back on previous experience. Coupled with the strong use of blue – associated with sadness – this intimates bleakness.
In utilising pen, Stephanie is able to achieve contrast and texture, which gives strength to the material that envelops the figure and the background. In this painting, unlike others, there is a lack of distinction between the two however: Stephanie uses the same colours – and a similar treatment of them throughout – and consequently the model blends into the secondary layer. In other works the protagonist seems to emerge from the inky wash with the use of whitespace, or controls the canvas entirely.