209 W. 5th St., Los Angeles, CA 90013
Melanie Van Latum’s portraits pop with a hardboiled baroque, neo-noir coterie of haunting, flamboyant heroines. Handsome, sinister, and supremely confident women stare from the canvas with an imperiously mysterious gaze, clearly indicating that no cloister, boudoir, suburb or nursery could ever contain the canny power of their bodies and minds.
Van Latum’s cleverly balanced compositions and high-tension-line lighting conjure a triumphant, intelligent feminine charisma – a mise-en-scene flushed with dizzying endless décolletage and the intricate obsessions of coiffure. In playfully provoking erotic traditions, these post-traditionalist paintings resuscitate the vapid, gaping pin-up model to her proper stance as empress, saint, and icon.” -Quintan Wikswo