Growth spurt

It could be argued that Julie Verhoeven’s multi-faceted, cross-media image-making has been instrumental in the rejuvenation of illustration as a discipline.

Her fashion drawings for John Galliano and textile prints for Cacharel launched a trend for story-book characters in wistfully surreal landscapes. She made editorial illustration hip again by freelancing for every cutting-edge magazine from Dazed and Confused to Tank. On top of that, she’s proven her creative versatility by designing for fashion label Gibo, working with Sofia Coppola on the forthcoming film Marie Antoinette, and becoming a gallery artist, exhibiting with Deitch Projects in New York, Colette in Paris and now, with two related shows in London at Soho’s Riflemaker gallery.

Inspired by ornamental flowerbeds in seaside towns, Verhoeven has ‘de-constructed’ a poetic garden, right in the heart of London. Visitors will be encouraged to bring seeds from there to the Riflemaker, where part two of the show is ‘germinating’. So, is Verhoeven a keen gardener? ‘No, clueless’, she admits. ‘But I thought it would be challenging to incorporate some subtle planting as a decorative flourish’, which she describes as ‘sentimental and twee’.

Verhoeven’s installations start life as sketches and ‘excessive reference matter’, and, in this case, will become a mix of eclectic collage and skillful draughtsmanship, along with needlepoint drawings, architectural elements, sprouting vegetation, live performance and music by ex-Blur member Graham Coxon.

By Liz Farrelly

Saint James in Bloom runs until 15 September at Economist Plaza, 25 St James’s Street, London SW1.

Ver-boten, Ver-Saatchi, Ver-heaven runs from 11 September to 15 November at Riflemaker Gallery, 79 Beak Street, London W1.

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