ellen phelan look back
I have to admit that I really wanted to have monday's big feature be RICHRICHRICH but I have started to give that show much more thought than initially planned so I will have pics and a review up in a couple days. I will say that it is a show that is more complex than one may first assume and takes some time to sink in. For now I want to give some teaser pics of the Hilberry show with Ellen Phelan.
The first half is a collection of photographs of friends and family digitally altered. The snapshots are a nice compliment or forethought to the second half of the show - the paintings. I do however feel that as nice as they are, they still are subordinate companions to the paintings. The collection of photos feel like a painter's studio wall of collected images that inspire the artist. I can appreciate the studies and find the inspiration in her paintings but to me the paintings are the meat of the show.
I also have to recommend that you see the show in person because the pics I took look overexposed because of the glazed, foggy layers that phelan uses. The images bury into the dark shadows of burnt umber and sienna tones and mimic an aged polaroid or black and white photograph.
You can actually get a truer sense of this painting below...
The compositions of phelan are very classical. Although much of the imagery has a very distant feel of looking at fading memories or haunting dreams, the way in which phelan paints is very contemporary. Looking at small details of the paintings you can find pleasure in her process as seen in the many glazed layers and amazing abstractions that occur within small areas of the canvas.
This painting reminds me of this (henry fuseli) and this (cecily brown).