Friday, February 17, 2012

Shelley Adler Q&A out in National Post

Shelley Adler is a Toronto painter who has a nice assortment of works up right now at Nicholas Metivier Gallery. I thought I was going in for the canvases (like Molly, above) but I found I also really loved her smaller works on paper, which I hadn't seen before.

In any case, I got to chat with Shelley about her work, which has generally focused on the face and the figure, a few weeks ago. The resulting condensed Q&A was published in yesterday's National Post. An excerpt:

Q What’s the difference between a portrait and a painting, in your view?

A Well, a portrait is a rendition of a person’s face. And a painting is about light, colour, texture, scale: all the abstract or formal qualities. When I look at a painting, I actually see the abstract qualities of it first. I don’t even see what it is—what the subject matter is. When I walk through museums with people, they will say, “Oh, look what this artist has painted!” and I will say, “What? What? What have they painted? Look at how it’s done!” And in my work, I try find the middle ground between portraiture and painting.

Q With the growth over the past 10 years of sites like Flickr and Facebook, it seems like there are a lot more images of faces floating around in the world. What do you think of that?

A I don’t actually think about it that much, to be perfectly honest. There are faces everywhere. Look at billboards, movies, ads in the newspaper—every time you turn around, the face is advertising something. I guess with Facebook, you have to find the image of yourself now, right? But that self-conscious image is not the kind of image that I’m interested in. I’m interested in faces that don’t have any of that self-consciousness. That’s why I use friends and family a lot, because they seem to not filter themselves for me.

Lately, she has started to look at the male figure more. (There is a particularly humorous couple of these among those works on paper.)

The show, up until February 25, is recommended, and there's also an opportunity to hear Adler speak in person this weekend as she does a Q&A with Sarah Milroy February 18 at 2pm, too.

(Image: Shelley Adler's Molly, 2011, photo by Michael Cullen, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery)

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