The paintings operate within and against the genre of portraiture, taking anonymous female figures and imbuing them with fictional personalities. For Werner, the process of painting is a way of investigating the iconic power of the image, invoking imagination, memory, and projection to invest the anonymous figures with human subjectivity and emotion. The final paintings are composite portraits that retain aspects of the original while also representing notions of transformation, innocence and loss.
In Werner’s current practice the proportions of the figures shift; an argument erupts between beauty and the grotesque and the figure itself becomes the site of contest. Folded, cut, occluded, or altered, with colors ranging from luminous to ashen, and scale shifting from pixie to giant, these figures possess an otherworldly aspect. There is a subtle suggestion of witchcraft in these portraits, though it is not clear if these beings are the ones casting spells or the ones upon whom the spell is cast. Mute and expectant, leaning into the frame, at once imposing and powerless, the characters embody conflict and contradiction. Wearing their complications like a crown, they confront the viewer with their big loneliness, beckoning like absurd clowns or sorcerers practicing a kind of rough magic. A hard-cover monograph accompanies the exhibition, and is available through the gallery.
Mad Bad Sad Glad opens on 11 August and closes on 1 September 2012
Whatiftheworld Gallery is located at 1 Argyle St, Woodstock. It is open Tuesdays to Fridays 10;00am to 5:00pm and Saturdays 10:00am to 2:00pm
- 11/11/2012 14:09 - Mumbo Jumbo at Whatiftheworld
- 21/09/2012 09:30 - "Making Faces" Exhibition at Rose Korber Art
- 11/09/2012 17:56 - Roger Ballen/Die Antwoord at Photographers Gallery
- 28/08/2012 07:10 - Ex Nihlo by Maja Maljević
- 20/08/2012 19:49 - Our Fathers Group Exhibition at the AVA