21 April—26 May 2006
6 rue St-Georges | St-Jorisstraat
Painted with the romanticised aura of the past and of traditional, figurative painting Cris Brodahl’s (° 1963, Ghent) paintings are an exquisite and bizarre arrangement. “Drawing from Surrealism as a departure point, Brodahl’s paintings are pieced together as stylised motifs, irrational and dream-like icons”. In many works, the painter suggests the strong presence of a female “persona” and creates a centripetal effect towards her within the composition.
Cris Brodahl’s ‘portraits’ are both seductive and monstrous. Labyrinthine hairdos, touching patterns of entwined hands and a single pair of high heel shoes reveal a sensuous physicality. Elaborate still lifes including a heavy table cloth, a meticulous pair of chicken paws and a reclining female head with an all-seeing eye suggest hidden and undescribable forces at work in our daily worlds, challenging our beliefs and expectations. “Through her amalgamated forms, Brodahl envisions an image of fractured beauty; its placid but very controlled fabrication belying psychological unease.
Working from collaged sources, Cris Brodahl condenses disparate images into unsettlingly introspective paintings, rendered with photorealistic naturalness. Executed in sepia and grey tones, Brodahl alludes to a cinematic glamour that’s both nostalgic and remote”. In the new series of paintings, Brodahl used a ground layer of “electric blue” paint. Although most of this colour gets covered afterwards by the different layers of paints and imagery, Brodahl leaves open very small fragments within her composition that reveal the sharp blue at unexpected occasions.
Cris Brodahl accentuates uneasy relations between reality, representation, and artifice, centred around the female form. Although the feminine images always suggest a sexual context, the eroticism in her work is diffused during the scene and never made explicit… at no time does the female body become objectified as it so often does in the work of the traditional, male, surrealist painters.
“Electric Blue” is a first exhibition by Cris Brodahl at Xavier Hufkens. Over the last five years, the work of Cris Brodahl has been exhibited in Antwerp, Los Angeles and London.