Rhiannon Valenti"My 'Art' is Me, and My time" - June 5 - July 17, 1999
“My ‘Art’ is Me, and My time”
Rhiannon’s work is stunning. There is simply no getting away from it. Her paintings radiate a sensibility which is undeniable. This, her latest body of work, focuses slyly on the queen of all childhood icons, Barbie. But to distill her work sown to this one iconic facet wouldnot so it justice. Driven by Rhiannon’s talent, Barbie transcends all her petty concerns of plastic beauty… she becomes absolutely lustrous. Rhiannon’s palette is stunning , and her treatment of the paint superb.
Most fortunately for us, Rhiannon isnot simplu regurgitating the nostalgic icons of youth. Her work skates on the edge of a Pop sensibility, but doesn’t slip into its easy idelologies. It is not Pop’s mistreatment of the subject as a cultural icon, but her treatment of the subject that merits attention. Barbie does notonly confront us at nearly life size, she takes on human proportions. Rhiannon’s homage to, and exploration into Barbie recuperates her diemsion which has been lost to a galaxy of empty reproductions. In capturing Barbie in the classic motif of portraiture painting, Rhiannon goes beyond appropriating a classical medium to a decidedly post-classical consumer phenomenon. This is not merely nostalgia for past days. These images impart an entire new perspective to Barbie and her place in our lives. Rhiannon is ultimately helping us discover an element of Barbie, and ourselves, that we maybe never knew we had. Being in the presence of Rhiannon’s Barbies is like getting over your first doll as a child. Or, maybe it is just really seeing Barbie for the first time.
5 June through 17 July, 1999
opening reception June 5th, 6-9pm