Nowości
31 grudzień 2014
Huffington Post
Peter Frank
Gottfried-Helnwein-Of-Mice-and-Children
Gottfried Helnwein - Of Mice and Children
Haiku Reviews: ART December 2014 (Still on View)
Both children and toys wear exaggerated expressions, but expressions that do not seem unnatural to them; if anything, they seem tempered, the toys' by the crepuscular light Helnwein throws around them and the kids' by the odd lack of hyperbole which such pre-teens - especially girls - are normally wont to display. These girls seem truly apprehensive, doubtful, suspicious, frightened, disbelieving, even slightly shell-shocked. Yet Helnwein does not exploit their seeming fragility so much as commute it to us; the way he paints these quietly fearful children provokes not our sympathy but our empathy. We take a more doting view of the several girls' faces with their eyes closed (two of them in the dark), but amidst their wide-eyed sisters, the sleep of these innocents also seems fleeting.
Gray Mouse 7
2014
Gottfried Helnwein has earned his reputation as a Gothic hyper-realist whose cinematic style - cinematic in scale, in appearance, and in subject - seeks to challenge institutional as well as individual presuppositions. But that reputation flattens a complex artistic personality into a kind of anti-entertainer, and Helnwein is far more than the sum of his spectacles. In a show of seemingly very quiet subjects, the Austrian-born, Los Angeles- and Ireland-based painter examines the way we read, and read into, others' expressions.
In this case, the "others" are either inanimate objects - several heads of toys (all Disney characters) - or children. Both children and toys wear exaggerated expressions, but expressions that do not seem unnatural to them; if anything, they seem tempered, the toys' by the crepuscular light Helnwein throws around them and the kids' by the odd lack of hyperbole which such pre-teens - especially girls - are normally wont to display. These girls seem truly apprehensive, doubtful, suspicious, frightened, disbelieving, even slightly shell-shocked.
Yet Helnwein does not exploit their seeming fragility so much as commute it to us; the way he paints these quietly fearful children provokes not our sympathy but our empathy. We take a more doting view of the several girls' faces with their eyes closed (two of them in the dark), but amidst their wide-eyed sisters, the sleep of these innocents also seems fleeting.
Next to these grimly tender visages, the several depictions of young boys theatrically got up in bandages and holding rifles or watching television do seem as histrionic as Helnwein's reputation would invoke - although they are some of the subtler, more disturbing images to address school shootings and the general level of gun violence in America. And the world.
(Modernism, 685 Market St., S. Francisco; thru Jan. 10. www.modernisminc.c
Head of a Child 17
mixed media (oil and acrylic on canvas), 2014




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