On view Downtown July 28th – September 1st, 2013
Opening reception Sunday, August 4th (5 – 7 p.m.)
Two disparate sets of familiar women—the subjects of French Impressionist Edouard Manet and images of the pop star Rihanna culled from her album artwork and Instagram account—coalesce in a new series of paintings, Alliseeissigns by Oriana Lewton-Leopold. The exhibition owes its name to a Rihanna song lyric, but it also references the rich symbolic quality of Manet’s images, where the development of modernism is apparent in both style and subject matter. Manet’s women—barmaids, prostitutes, social spectators, among others—exposed the multifaceted cultural and economic shift into Parisian urban life in the mid-nineteenth century. Similarly, Rihanna represents the complexity of the celebrity in contemporary society as she walks the line between powerful female and public victim.
Hints of electric yellows, blues, and pinks glow off the canvases, highlighting the palimpsest of eras and styles in Alliseeissigns. Rihanna enters the pictures sometimes physically connecting with the anachronistic figures, and other times existing separately in her own reality. In one image based on Manet’s infamous painting Olympia (1865), Rihanna replaces the pale nude courtesan, becoming the confident odalisque. As her eyes fix on the viewer, she becomes a modern-day Olympia, confident in her position as an object of desire and exchange.
The exhibit continues in a Fishbowl window gallery at Blackfish Gallery in the Pearl throughout the month of August.
Oriana Lewton-Leopold is a painter based in Portland, OR. She received her MFA in Visual Studies from PNCA, and is currently a member of Blackfish Gallery. This is her first exhibition at Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
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