What Would Mother Say

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What Would Mother Say

535 West 22nd Street
3rd Floor
New York, NY 10011
October 29th, 2009 - December 5th, 2009
Opening: October 29th, 2009 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Tuesday - Saturday 10-6


Dotty Attie

What Would Mother Say?

October 29 – December 5, 2009

Opening Reception: Thursday, October 29, 6-8pm


P.P.O.W Gallery is pleased to announce our eighth solo exhibition with Dotty Attie.  This new series of paintings continues to expand on themes that Attie has brought to her work through the past 30 years: gender, politics, and how images often change the context of words.  Reminiscent of silent films, each sequence is a still in the life of a boy or a girl whose mother is trying to warn them of their futures if they continue their current behavior.  The statement, “Keep That Up Her Mother Said” and conversely, “Keep That Up His Mother Said” is followed by another text a few canvases later that states “And Who Knows What You Could Become.” The result of what the girl or the boy will become is significantly different.  The “Her” and the “His” is the switch that condemns or condones.


The images are painted from vintage photographs, movie stills and contemporary photographs. They are rendered in her signature palate of black, white and grey, with touches of flesh and rouge.  The mixing of old and new images shows how timeless the defining of moral purity and fate based on gender.  There are also pop-ins of movie stars, politicians, or something you may think you’ve seen in a recent magazine or TV show.  This recognition emphasizes how these images are and have been ubiquitous through time.  The actions of the boys and the girls are seemingly equal and innocent at first: smoking, kissing, gymnastics, but they inevitably diverge, as Attie’s panels reveal.

Sometimes the images feel like a scene from a film, but other times like a much more private situation.  Attie duplicates an objectification that emphasizes the involvement of the viewer and plays with expectation and voyeurism.  The viewer is not so much complicit, as affirming a standard that continues the careless custom of sexism.

Dotty Attie has been exhibiting in museums and galleries worldwide since 1972.  Her paintings are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum, among others.

Concurring with this exhibition in Gallery 2 will be Looking Forward, Feeling Backwards curated by Capricious & Tammy Rae Carland.