Sara Meltzer Gallery is pleased to present Sphinx, an exhibition of new paintings by Moyna Flannigan. Sphinx is Moyna Flannigan’s fourth solo exhibition at Sara Meltzer Gallery.
Among Scotland’s leading figurative painters, Flannigan’s genre of portraiture is based on the mood of our time as depicted in fictional characters. Her paintings, works on paper and miniatures are characterized by a lavish imagination, dark humor and a probing critique of the effects of power on personal, cultural and political alienation in the modern world. Flannigan’s influences are drawn from a range of historic sources – from the characters in commedia del’arte (Comedy of Art) and the films of Federico Fellini, to the paintings of Francisco Goya and Otto Dix, to the slapstick and the popular. Curious to Flannigan is the inherent difference between how one seems or appears, as opposed to how one truly is.
Perhaps her most introspective body of work yet, the Sphinx paintings have been pared to a minimum of colors and forms: to a lone woman at the edge of darkness. The woman’s mouth sometimes appears open wide, a black hole in place of a scream. Although she appears a physical entity, both beautiful and seemingly eternal, she is inscrutable. Flannigan’s Sphinxes bend, stand and walk, as if to suggest a precautionary evolutionary tale centered on the axis of good/evil. Having its origins in Ancient Egyptian mythology, the seated sphinx is a zoomorphic mythological figure associated with the role of guardian and protector of deity and temple. In Greek mythology the sphinx, commonly depicted upright, is a guardian figure and her mystery being that only she can reveal the riddle of life. In Flannigan’s Sphinx series the women are not still; the paint conspires in its intense application to amplify restlessness, evade accurate description or portrayal and yet unwittingly reveal a sense of self.
Moyna Flannigan lives and works in Edinburgh, Scotland. She received a MFA from Yale University and a BA from Edinburgh College of Art. Flannigan has had solo exhibitions at Mount Stuart Visual Arts Programme, Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute; Galerie Akinci, Amsterdam, Netherlands and in Scotland at doggerfisher, Edinburgh, Scottish National Portraiture Gallery, Edinburgh and Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow. Her work has been included in exhibitions at The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY; Inman Gallery, Houston, TX; Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland and Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne, Switzerland, among others. She is a recipient of an Artist Award from the Scottish Arts Council (2004) and a Creative Scotland Award (2005). Sphinx is Moyna Flannigan’s fourth solo exhibition at Sara Meltzer Gallery.