DFN Gallery is pleased to present our summer group exhibition, Dangerous Women, inspired by the Rafael Perez series of the same name, featuring paintings, videos and mixed media images by 18 contemporary artists.
Although it sounds like the lurid title of a Jim Thompson crime novel, Dangerous Women is curated within the tradition of female figure painting, photography and cinema – where even the tamest representation of the female form can be a loaded image. While a few of the images exhibited are more obviously “dangerous” or risqué as in Alyssa Monk’s Press, or Heather Morgan’s Hello Kitty, none are passive and most run askew if not counter, to the literal meaning of dangerous women.
Paintings of heroic and super-heroic women – Peter Drake’s Joan of Arc in Night Visions and John Jacobsmeyer’s Invisible Woman portray women that threatened the established order. Both painters reinterpret forms of children’s entertainment – one heroine was martyred, mythologized and cast as an antique toy soldier and the other broke the glass ceiling at Marvel comics.
Adela Leibowitz and Deborah Hamon both imply mysterious narratives and evoke lost innocence by depicting pre-adolescent girls in portentous, austere settings. Both ratchet up the tension with stylistic strategies. In Green Manor, Leibowitz’s flat, restrained style counter- balances all of the ready-made Victorian baggage. Hamon’s hand-painted American Girl figure seems uncomfortably alive against her photographed American flag tarmac. Both portrayals are of that poignant moment when idyllic youth is on the cusp of a darker future. Like Leibowitz, Carson Fox and Cathleen Flaubert reference Victorian sensibility with dramatically different results. In her video piece, I Want More Power Over My Fantasies, Flaubert channels Lewis Carroll as she floats and flops in a cotton candy room. Fox’s manipulated print You Are Bad encloses a circular image of a knife and a woman’s hand within a hole punched black square border. A subtle spit bite splatter and corpusle-like hole pattern almost decoratively echo the menacing action of the knife and hand.
Dan Witz and Eric White offer unsettling images of women with phones. A cellular glow replaces Georges de La Tour’s candlelight in Witz’s Melissa and supplants 18th century piety with a subtle 21st century anxiety. The solarized light of Eric White’s Divorce Island woman seems to be obliterating her as if the sun has just exploded.
Ordinary gals – Secretary by Rafael Perez, Tom Birkner’s Andrea, and Jenny Scobel’s Fourteenth all seem hardened by their circumstances. Only Perez’s Secretary, like all the women in his wry series, is going to do something about it – soon.
Sarah Bereza | Tom Birkner | Alison Blickle | Peter Drake | Cathleen Faubert | Carson Fox Deborah Hamon | John Jacobsmeyer | Susan Jamison | Adela Leibowitz | Julie Lohnes | Alyssa Monks Heather Morgan | Rafael Perez | Jenny Scobel | Melanie Vote | Eric White | Dan Witz