Pérez Art Museum Miami presents a survey of the work of Victoria Gitman (b. 1972, Buenos Aires; lives in Hallandale, FL). Gitman creates astonishingly naturalistic oil paintings abounding with sensuality and conceptual sophistication. The exhibition features 19 works drawn from four phases in the artist’s career, spanning 14 years of highly disciplined production. Set against shallow backgrounds of neutral color, Gitman’s depictions of necklaces, beaded purses, and fur purses make a powerful impact that belies their small scale and banal subject matter. The artist paints the images from items that she finds in thrift stores, flea markets, and online sources for vintage accessories. In Gitman’s hands, these inexpensive objects are transmuted into things of beauty, exuding luxury and refinement. Rendered from life (never from photographs), they emit the rich aura that one associates with still life paintings by the Old Masters. At the same time, they converge with various early and mid-20th century painterly traditions: evoking modernist compositional tendencies, the artist aligns her imagery with the picture plane and extends it nearly edge-to-edge within the pictorial field, which has the effect of collapsing recessional space. Gitman buttresses these subtle formal dialogues with modernist abstraction by inserting veiled references to the work of canonical artists such as Kazimir Malevich, Mark Rothko, and Ad Reinhardt. The exhibition culminates with Gitman’s stunning “Beauties”—a set of oil paintings on panel that reproduce graphite drawings on paper by the great French Neoclassical painter and draughtsman Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780—1867). These diminutive portraits feature elegant young women whose haunting eyes meet the viewer’s gaze dead on. The series provides a disarming counterpoint to Gitman’s still life paintings while underscoring the tensions that animate her work, in which decadence vies with restraint, humility with ostentation, tradition with contemporaneity, and precision with beauty.
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