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ARTCAT

CALENDAR | HOSTING



Cornelia Renz, SubRosa

Goff + Rosenthal
537 West 23rd Street, 212-675-0461
Chelsea
May 5 - June 8, 2007
Reception: Saturday, May 5, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site


Entitled Sub Rosa, this body of work incorporates Cornelia Renz’s style of layered painting with imagery reminiscent of Italian Renaissance masterpieces by Botticelli, Bronzino, and others. Sub Rosa, a Latin term originating from Greek mythology, implies confidentiality, usually with illicit connotations. The Rose, a symbol of silence, was often seen in Renaissance Rome above banquet tables as a visual reminder to guests of their freedom to speak candidly as all conversations were “under the rose” and thus in confidence. For this exhibition, Renz interprets the term Sub Rosa as an abuse of this silence, depicting unscrupulous women and their exploitation of the familial hierarchy behind closed doors.

Renz’s previous works focus on young, almost prepubescent, girls in carnivalesque attire and ironically misogynist situations, “These young women are not unknowing Alice-like innocents, there is no `sugar and spice and all things nice’ to be appended to these Justines, Juliets or Lolitas…They challenge the stereotypes and male-dominated assumptions, the patriarchal constructions that men attempt to impose on women.”1 In Sub Rosa, Renz turns her focus to matriarchies and the private sphere. “In the private sphere, as opposed to the public sphere, power is more often exercised by women- the mothers or grandmothers. In modern families the father is becoming more and more absent leaving no one to control the female authority and allowing a shift of power from male to female and, inevitably, an abuse of power, but by the female.” In Renz’s latest series, the male subjects are shown in passive positions-sleeping in the nude, breast-feeding- but each work is imbibed with a sexualized undercurrent, bringing into question the roles of these female “nurturers”. By reversing the gaze from female to male, Renz’s Sub Rosa is truly feminist in theory, although she also reveals the women as manipulators, exploiting and enjoying their position of power within the private family sphere.

Renz meticulously builds each work as a unique art-object. She paints on two separate surfaces, a front one of transparent acrylic and a back one that is either white acrylic or white polyurethane foam. Her medium is self-made, a mixture of pigments poured into empty magic marker casings. She applies the paint with her markers, adjusting the felt tips to get different qualities of line. Renz makes each frame always in white polyethylene, containing the individual work as if it were a Pandora’s Box. The final effect is three-dimensional: part drawing, part painting part sculptural box.

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