With almost a decade of graphic design experience under her belt, Géraldine Georges is a perfect example of the insistent growth of the creative conscience. After graduating from Brussels’ Academy of Fine Arts, Georges worked in advertising before trying her hand at freelance illustration. Since taking that leap, she has been featured at a number of galleries around the world, including the Sophie Maree Gallery in the Netherlands and the Auguste Clown Gallery in Australia.
The most obvious element linking all of Georges’ illustrations is the human presence-:tangible yet surreal, it is what defines each compilation. I call them compilations not only because of the collage technique Georges uses, but because each piece has very separate, distinct parts joined together by the face or a body part in the center.
Georges plays with pattern, texture and color scheme to form an amorphous backdrop for the women she focuses on. Rarely do they look right at us; instead, their gazes fall in expressions of state of heart and state of mind. The exposed throat, the peek over the shoulder—the body language is what invites the audience inside, or, for that matter, repels them. This is not a single, prolonged narrative, but a collection showing such a fluid way of being that each illustration is its own story.
Georges’ background in graphic design comes out the most in her approach to composition, and I can definitely distinguish it in her body of personal work. Rarely do her images have conventional borders or frames, instead taking on the shape of the face or moment they are depicting, thus redefining their level of intimacy with the subject.
Oftentimes, the soft and fleeting shadows of the female bodies are accentuated by the almost monotone sharpness of the background, establishing a guarded distance within the piece and speaking to the emotional response it creates. Other times, the fragility of the image beckons the viewer to get closer, as if it were something we could save from shattering. These intimate glimpses into the cracks of the human façade are a contrast to the precision that can only come from the hand of a graphic designer. It’s a balance that, when struck successfully, is as unnerving as it is welcoming.
The deformation and sense of dismemberment that Georges gives to her figures is at odds with their obvious beauty. That being said, it’s that breakage that opens up the spaces in between, and makes them wide enough for us to look through.