Galleria Marie-Laure Fleisch presents Face to Face, the first solo exhibition in Italy by Natalie Frank, with the participation of the multifaceted artist Rachel Mason.
Natalie Frank's paintings and drawings are stages on which her visionary personages act out their most hidden human fantasies. Her prevalently female and grotesque characters are what she defines as “portraits of what makes us human”. The artist presents her new and terrifying subconscious through a language close to that of dreams; independent and created by the mind according to an unrepeatable sequence of conditions that knows no ethic. Her masterful pictorial technique maximises the tension between the superficial and the profound, between the figurative and the abstract, thus sublimating the powerful relationship between the artist and the characters that she portrays through an amalgam of longing, repulsion, and fascination.
A group of female portraits are exhibited; contemporaneously disquieting and superterrestrial as their gazes go beyond the confines of the work. Indeed, their magnetic, hyperrealistic eyes are the focal point of the works by revealing unsettling elements: mismatched green and blue irises, an cataract-ridden eye, or a bluish bruise-like contusion. Exhibited together with these oil-based works are some pastels from the series “Superheroes”; bizarre carnival scenes portraying sinister power struggles, and also another two female portraits on a highly-textured cellulose pulp support.
The same cruel, clownish world animates Rachel Mason's video of psychedelic folk music in which the artist, performer, singer, sculptress and video maker narrates surreal stories of romance and curiosities. Elaborating on current and historical events, Mason transforms these into intimate and subjective stories through her clown-like visual language with its powerful Gothic vein.
On show, Marry Me Mary, a melancholic ballad dealing with the anxiety of relationships in which we see the artist's head rotate as if suspended in an undefined and nightmare-filled atmosphere; and Sunken Chest, a video work filmed in stop-motion which tells the story of a patient of a psychiatric clinic with a severe chest deformity who spends years sculpting a wooded branch to depict his own body. When the sculpture is completed, a nurse discovers that the artist-patient has hanged himself from the very same tree from which he took the branch to sculpt.
Face to Face is an exhibition-confrontation between the persona and the subconscious, between the evil of the world and the malaise derived from repressed desires. The protagonists freely manifest their turmoil and anguish when living their dream-like existences created by their own nightmares. They enter into and exit reality, demonstrating the indivisible bond between the Ego and the Id.
Natalie Frank (1980, Austin, TX) lives and works in New York. M.F.A., Visual Arts, Columbia University, School of the Arts, New York, NY; National Academy of Fine Art, Oslo, Norway; Fulbright Scholarship Study, B.A., Studio Art, Yale University, New Haven, CT. Her exhibitions include: 2016, Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm, University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, KY; Intermission. ACME, Los Angeles; ADAA, Solo-Presentation, Drawings, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, New York; Contemporary Artists Working in Paper at Dieu Donné, 2000-Present, Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY; I am a Lie and I am Gold, curated by Marco Breuer, Yossi Milo Gallery, New York; 2015. Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm, Blanton Museum at University of Texas, Austin; Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm, The Drawing Center, New York; The Artists Project, Season 1, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY 100 short films made by 100 contemporary artists worldwide.
Rachel Mason (1978, Los Angeles) lives and works in Los Angeles. M.F.A. Sculpture, Yale University; B.A. University of California, Los Angeles; Her exhibitions include: 2016 (upcoming) Personal Exhibition, Los Angeles Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Cats-in-Residence, curated by Rhonda Lieberman, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA; 2015, A Very Anxious Feeling, curated by Melva Bucksbaum and Ray Learsey, Mattatuck Museum Waterbury, CT; In Your Room, curated by Rachel Rampleman, Vanessa Albury, 184 Project Space, Brooklyn, NY; 2014, Listening Figures, Kim and Art in General, curated by Kristen Chappa, Riga, Latvia; 2012, 9th Shanghai Biennial, CKTV curated by Cleopatra's, Representing Brooklyn, Shanghai, China; Queens International Biennial “Three Points Make a Triangle”, Queens Museum of Art Biennial; Fuel For the Fire, organised by Dawn Kasper, David Zwirner and Jay Sanders at Temporary Space, NY; 2011, Personal Histories, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI.