5 comments on “Houston SeeSawS Dec 2007

  1. Somebody brought up El Greco today, and a thought started snapping in my head, about some relationship between that guy’s paintings and Angela Fraleigh’s. It’s not formed fully yet, hopefully it’ll get there before this post gets totally cold. I have been thinking about the ones I saw last summer at the Kemper in Phantasmania. Definitely impressive paintings. Still, there was something about the facture of the figures that seemed uninspired next to the “all paint” parts. It didn’t bother me so much when the paintings when the suggested narratives were a little more over the top (one time, in Florence, IT before I was married I went into what I thought was a porno theater, Cinema Arlecchino right off the Ponte Vecchio and saw the strangest, campiest Italian psychedelic soft-core from the 60s, Fraleigh’s paintings like all consequences soon forgotten give me this kind of vibe). The ones that take me closer to “amateur hour Flickr user takes desperate voyeuristic pics of his depressingly passive girlfriend and adds half the world as his ‘contacts’ so they have to look at these things to” didn’t hold up as well. From the images I’ve seen, and from reading what you’ve written, it seems like there is a little more dynamic between the two types of painting (the pours “feel just as alive as the human flesh” you wrote about the black paintings) and I also get the idea from what you write that there is greater subtlety in the dramas evoked. You’ve really got me hoping I get the chance to see this body in person. Great post!

  2. There is evidence of Fraleigh nudging her strategy. The “all paint” elements have gained a stronger platform within the paintings. But I wouldn’t say she has completely solved that problem. Images on the gallery website and her personal website show that there are still paintings where the “all paint” sections can’t compete with the rendering of flesh.

    Maybe you’re right. Maybe she over-renders the figure. I would be pleasantly surprised if Fraleigh were to loosen up the figure in a similar way she has tightened the “all paint”.

    The thing about the figure that gets me are the eyes. They’re still piercing, but they are not always shooting directly at the viewer. Fraleigh seems to be nudging the narrative with this strategy. The color scheme also helps with the subtlety.

  3. Man, quick to respond…you’re on it! But I think you’re right it is all a balancing act. I keep thinking about the facture, how could it be any different? If the figures looked more like Jenny Saville’s? No, wouldn’t work. If the figures looked more like Will Cotton’s? No, wouldn’t work. If the figures looked more like Robert McGinnis? Odd Nerdrum? No, no.
    It’s a balancing act between the paint and the impulse to empathize or feel involved in these women’s stories. It’s a balancing act while juggling on a high wire. I’m holding my breath, not quite clapping yet. What are you thinking?

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