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Angela Fraleigh
South Carolina

Artist Statement Submitted 2015

What if the female characters we’ve come to know from the old masters – the lounging odalisques, the giggling nymphs, the chorus that whispers in the background – present more than a voyeuristic visual feast? What if these characters embody a flickering of female power at work?

My large-scale oil paintings pull at the shadows of historical works of art and ask what dormant new narratives might be found in the female subjects that inhabit them. What invisible histories might be embedded or encoded? Is it possible to restore autonomy to these models, to whatever nuances of expression might have been contained in their poses? Maybe it cannot be “restored” – they are long gone – but perhaps it can be conceived afresh.
My paintings are an act of distillation, boiling off the extravagance and iconography of these original sources in pursuit of more delicate, less definite, but perhaps truer relationships.

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