curated by Diana Corvelle and Manu Saluja
at Hersh Fine Arts, June 21st – August 12th, 2014
read press release
review by Angela Gram in Quantum Arts Review: “Loved and Observed: Women in Portraiture”
article by Jeffrey Carlson in Fine Arts Connoisseur: “Loved and Observed”
Hersh Fine Art, of the Long Island Academy of Fine Art, is pleased to announce Loved and Observed, a group exhibition of portraits by twenty-three artists, curated by Diana Corvelle and Manu Saluja. Loved and Observed will be on view from June 21 until August 12, 2014. The artists will be present for an opening on Saturday, June 28 from 6-8pm.
Artists Corvelle and Saluja bring together a dynamic collection of classically trained women whose approach to portraiture ranges from delicate to bold, traditional to nonconformist. Participating artists are Elizabeth Adams-Jones, Erin Anderson, Juliette Aristides, Julie Elizabeth Brady, Aleah Chapin, Diana Corvelle, Michelle Doll, Alia El-Bermani, Alexandra Evans, Shauna Finn, Nanette Fluhr, Nanci France-Vaz, Kristy Gordon, Clarity Haynes, Leah Lopez, Gaetanne Lavoie, Lauren Amalia Redding, Kay Ruane, Manu Saluja, Holly Ann Scoggins, Rabecca Signoriello, Emily Slapin and Maria Teicher.
A majority of the portraits included in the exhibition are of women. In 2009, Loved and Observed artist Alia El-Bermani co-founded the online resource “Women Painting Women” expressly to promote contemporary figurative work of and by women. The intimacy apparent in El-Bermani’s tranquil CaryAnn hints at the depth and appeal of portraying female friendship. Leah by Elizabeth Adams-Jones and Diana and the Beast by Shauna Finn both stem from friendships with fellow exhibiting artists (Leah Lopez and Diana Corvelle, respectively). Depicting women also offers female artists the opportunity to view themselves in a new light. Kay Ruane populates her intricate graphite and gouache interiors with predominantly solitary women beside panoramic picture windows, often as a way to indirectly explore her own identity and relationship to the world.
Another prevailing theme of Loved and Observed is the purposeful blend of traditional skill and contemporary aesthetic. As artist Nanci France-Vaz explains of her narrative portraits, “my paintings combine the lighting techniques of a cinematographer with the methods of the old masters.” Lauren Amalia Redding seamlessly weaves past and present together in Elsa’s Altarpiece II, a diptych of two delicate silverpoint drawings of her grandmother’s hands. Documenting family members is Redding’s way of preserving her Cuban heritage, and her choice of silverpoint as a medium gives an heirloom quality to her drawings that befits the legacy of her subject. Erin Anderson’s hyperrealist oil portraits surrounded by shimmering etched designs literally expose the time-honored practice of painting on copper while at the same time subduing it.
Women’s portraiture has long outgrown expected stereotypes, and the result is as unique as the artist/subject pairings themselves. Maria Teicher’s deftly rendered self-portrait, entitled This Personal Pinnacle, shows a close-up of her face half covered in plastic wrap. The image may remind the viewer uncomfortably of suffocation and mortality, but as allegory it also recalls the broader and more relatable feeling of being trapped or overwhelmed. Clarity Haynes notes that her ongoing series The Breast Portrait Project is “a subversion of traditional purposes of portraiture.” Haynes’s striking, unidealized torsos of ordinary women honor the lives and experiences of her subjects, while also offering women an alternative standard of beauty and strength.