Andrea Hornick: Recent Work 1460 – 1865
September 17 – October 24, 2009
For her first solo show at David Krut Projects, Andrea Hornick has reimagined portraits of upper class women of society spanning four centuries, re-conceiving images of women made and commissioned by men. Painting in oil using traditional techniques, Hornick has reproduced a series of canonical masterpieces ruptured by the insertion of animals; the portrait genre so central to the oeuvre and the livelihood of the Old Master painters is here reproduced, re-imagined, and made relevant to the present.
Her strategy is a kind of inverse appropriation, inserting contemporary ideas and images into the art of the past, and thereby interrupting rather than uprooting the aura of the painted object. The resulting rich paintings are startling for their skill and realism alone, scintillating and surprising on the walls of a contemporary art gallery in Chlesea.
Hornick’s quick wit is evident in her renaming of the works and her marrying of a special animal to each sitter. Hardly the lords of the animal kingdom – a donkey, a snail, a cuttlefish – these creatures render ridiculous the modes of female representation that have barely changed through the ages. The animals are at once protective and totemic, sexually menacing and predatory. In Fashionable Goose Accompanies Flighty Mistress For Late Afternoon Stroll, Hornick brushes in the dark feathers and form of a goose into the plumes of Rubens’ “Chapeau de Paille” portrait (c.1620). A giant majestic moth masks the porcelain features of Ingres’ fashion victim, Madame Moitessier (1865) in Woman Who Wears the Face of Her Clothes’ Worst Enemy and Whose Reflection Betrays Her Beauty Ideal. As Bridget Alsdorf observes, “The moth’s placement suggests an elaborate costume for a masquerade – a popular event in Moitessier’s high-society milieu – and encapsulates the dilemma of fashion as a feminine tool: fashion hides as much as it reveals; it is a form of oppression as much as self-expression.”
Hornick encourages the stilled atmosphere of a portrait gallery of old with taciturn sitters from different times regarding us from the walls, each with a unique carved frame underlining the status of medium, genre and sitter. This post-feminist project is about women looking back at the history of art; she copies the old masters as a rite of passage, while claiming them for new historical trajectories through her anamorphic insertions.
ANDREA HORNICK : RECENT WORK 1460 – 1865 is accompanied by a new David Krut Publication available at the gallery, with contributing essays by Bridget Alsdorf and Anne Higgonet. Special thanks to both Bridget and Anne for their valued contributions.
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