A multi-media art installation, Wicked Sister creates a timeless, illusionary world where Biewald’s use of layering and transparencies seduce the viewer, beckoning deeper exploration of odd spatial references and visual possibilities. Themes of beauty and allure are interwoven with art historical references and the contemporary media culture that feeds these aesthetic ideals.
Biewald researched the use of the beautiful woman as the “subject” in fine art and her shifting credibility over time. 20th Century Modernists painted women out of their art, while the 21st century is re-embracing beauty once again. In Wicked Sister, Biewald explores this iconic image through the use of hybrid beings (mostly animal/human combinations), “portrayed as desirable, beautiful and alluring subjects resplendent with feminine charm… Today, the corseted and bound body of the past has been internalized making the illusion seem all the more real,” she explains.
Heavily influenced by the landscapes and dark dwellings of Romanticism, the artist has built a grotto-like arch in the entry of The Gallery allowing Biewald to reconstruct the space and create an air of timelessness. Works on paper, bleach paining on black velvet, upholstered materials, resin and clay are some of tools used to transform the animal/human form. Her combination of media incorporate a sense of wit and even a nod to kitsch; the bleach paintings on black velvet – a classic in kitsch art – are beautiful, skillfully rendered landscapes riddled with hybrid forms. A woman’s leg adorned in knee-high, laced boots reaches out of a tree trunk and morphs into another supernatural form flowing seamlessly into the illusion. Biewald’s ornate frames are hand-made to perfection, recalling earlier centuries. To the artist, the incorporation of upholstery techniques, such as tufting, alludes to the body and living structures. “I have been very drawn to physical connection between attraction and the alluring and repulsion as response to surface in sculpture… There’s a sensual moment; you want to touch it; but there’s no return. I want to bring people into the surface, but when they inspect it, there’s a duality, a dream-like quality, a dark humor.”