Paolo Curti / Annamaria Gambuzzi & co - arte contemporanea - via pontaccio 19 20121 milano - tel +39.02.86998170

 
 
   

 

 


14 November 2006 – 14 February 2007
Mon-Fri 11-19, closed Sundays and holidays
Saturday by appointment only


Galleria Paolo Curti/Annamaria Gambuzzi & Co. is proud to present the exhibition by the American artist Heidi McFall, opening on 14 November at Via Pontaccio 19 in Milan.

Is there still a possibility, in the era of high-resolution images and digital manipulation, for a painter to concentrate on portraiture? Heidi McFall (1974, Dewitt, Idaho, USA, lives and works in San Antonio) thinks so, though it might not seem obvious at first glance.
Her paintings, in fact, bear a striking resemblance to photographs, and this might be interpreted as a statement of the surrender of painting to the overwhelming power of technology. But artists have always mined the collective image-bank, and since we are living in a civilization of images, McFall starts with photographs and gives them new life.
Her mastery of the use of charcoal and pastels is applied not so much to the realistic representation of physiognomy as to imitation of the effects of overexposure or excessive contrast in photography. This is not just a demonstration of skill, because like the prevalent use of black and white for the figures, it reflects a desire to eliminate all superfluous details, making us concentrate on the psychology of the depicted subjects.
Intense blue, luminous orange and warm red tones often fill the background. These areas are so dense and laden with color that the contrast with the shaded, matte tones of the figures produces a sort of spark that gives them life and energy. The backgrounds also have the job of underlining the mood and character of the subjects while strengthening the overall composition. For this reason, they do not create an enveloping atmosphere, but a true backdrop against which the figures stand out, an effect that is accentuated by the almost total absence of references to landscape or context.
Heidi McFall also makes use of the collage technique to obtain her effects. Cutting out and reassembling individual portraits, the artist investigates the relationships among her subjects. When the technique is applied to just one subject, it enables her to delve deeper into that personality. The collage also has another effect: the persons are left isolated from one another. While this ensures that each of them can maintain their individuality even when interacting with the others, it also suggests the impossibility of complete mutual comprehension.

The exhibition is composed of nine works, most of them in a large format (122x183 cm), in which groups of three subjects alternate with individual figures. Laughing women, carefree girls, dreamy gazes directed toward an unknown horizon, between heaven and earth. In these portraits the artist’s expressive force creates a cutaway, capturing an instant in which time seems to have stopped; an entire life, all the various existences of the people depicted, are immobilized in the simplicity of an everyday world.

Heidi McFall has shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO, in the exhibition Decades of Influence, and at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO, in the show Colorado 2000.

The artist will attend the opening



 

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