In her first solo exhibition in the United States, Double Happiness, Parisian artist, Servane Mary, investigates the nature and emotional power of images of women, by closely examining the use and representation of happiness and ecstasy as applied by the world of advertising. Painted in tempera and oil on wood panels, these media driven visages are compared and contrasted with images based on documentary photographs from the late 19th century that chronicle the emotional states of women incarcerated in the Hospital de la Salpetriere outside of Paris. In many cases, the viewer cannot identify the source, resulting in an unsettling and ambiguous meeting of beauty and allure, euphoria and the anguish of human suffering. Truth and fiction become interchangeable parts of Mary's beatific tableau.
In this work, the purely aesthetic issues of gesture and color are heightened by the internal conflict of the subject, the human figure. Photographic images are transformed through the activity of painting. Such is the 21st century context of Servane Mary. The historical tradition of figuration is sustained, rupturing the practice in which contemporary images are reproduced by the thousands, inevitably resulting in a loss of meaning. Mary's subtle and skillful visual vocabulary is not about a formal perfection of the body, line or face, but rather, the emotional as conveyed through the plastic life of expanding and receding color and surface itself.
Double Happiness will be on view at DF2 Gallery from July 14-August 25, 2007.
Opening reception is July 14, 6-8 pm.
DF2 Gallery is at 314 N. Crescent Heights Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, tel 323.782.9404.
1995-1999 ENSAD, Paris
2008 Galerie Maisonneuve, Paris, France
2008 Martos Gallery, New York, New York
2008 Haas&Fischer Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland
2007 DF2 Gallery, Los Angeles, California
2007 Haas&Fischer, the FIAC, Paris, France
2007 Alona Kagan Gallery, New York, New York
2006 Haas&Fischer, "This Ain't no Karaoke," Zurich, Switzerland
2006 Anne de Villepoix, "Helter Helter," Paris, France
2006 Galerie Maisonneuve, Paris, France
2005 Alona Kagan Gallery, "Women on the Verge," New York, New York
2006 Philippe Dagen, "Helter, Helter," Le Monde, June 17
2006 Valerie Duponchelle, "Erik Parker, DJ de l'art contemporain," Le Figaro, July 10
2006 Glanzlichter der woche, Kunst, September 20
2006 Claudia Herstatt, "Karaoke im Arbeiterviertel," Der Tagesspiegel, September 9
2005 The L Magazine, "Women on the Verge," March 2