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Manuela Paz, Mirror

Invisible NYC
148 Orchard Street, between Stanton and Rivington, 212-228-1358
East Village / Lower East Side
August 3 - September 9, 2006
Reception: Thursday, August 3, 7 - 10 PM
Web Site

Manuela Paz presents photographs of female protagonists gesturing within the frame of a mirror’s reflection. They initiate a contemporary psychological exploration while subtly invoking conventions of Renaissance portraiture through their grainy image structure, the framing, and the gestures of the subjects. The work evokes a melancholy suspension with subtle accents and hesitations that suggest ambiguous narratives. Ms. Paz states:

Beauty here is used as a tool meant to evoke a psychological sub-text rather than its conventional purpose, as a seductive physical characteristic.

Paz’s work probes feelings of isolation, possibly a reference to one’s feeling when living and working in New York City. However, she avoids literal imagery or metaphors, each image inviting the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions and associations. Paz’s images, cropped by the frame of a mirror further distort the sense of time and place. They advance as cells from a surrealist movie that lack either time or narrative but instead invite the viewers’ sense of nostalgia and fantasy to unfold. The result is a romantically ambiguous voyeuristic experience to a tableau of charged dioramas, doorways to intimate moments of ambiguous narratives. Inspired by the artist’s own psycho-analytical introspection, the viewer gazes on a woman who seems to have no precise ethnicity, location, or place in time. Paz uses a sensual, suggestive, and feminine language to create a series of scenarios that evoke a suspended emotional and psychological state.
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