A Solo Exhibition by Angela Gram
16 Sep - 28 Oct
Gallery Poulsen presents Perpetual Portals, the third solo exhibition by American painter Angela Gram since her debut in the gallery in 2016. The exhibition opens on Saturday, September 16th with an opening reception from 12.00 – 16.00. Gram will be present at the opening.
In the exhibition’s new series of works, consisting of nine paintings, Angela Gram is inspired by the ancient myth about Oedipus and the anthropomorphic and mythical creature the sphinx, a tale containing symbolism open for personal reinterpretation that Gram uses as a foundation for an exploration of new themes and expressions that adds to her existing visual universe.
Anthropomorphism, or the attribution of human traits to non-human creatures or items, is an instrument Angela Gram has used throughout much of her artistic career, notably in her first Gallery Poulsen solo exhibition Transfigured Night, as a clear visual example of the sensible interconnection we feel between ourselves and a different world. This imagery, when applied to animals, is usually idealized, but such depictions and the cultural meaning behind them have changed drastically throughout time. Gram finds a particular fascination in the sociological expression of contemporary anthropomorphic stories depicting humans transcending their bodies into animal form as Western society has become completely detached from the symbiotic relationship with nature inherent in manifesting shamanistic rituals, shapeshifting legends, chimeric deities, and art associated with these traditions from various cultures throughout history. This departure from the natural world has led to cultures creating an ancient literary framework, which survives to this day, where animal traits are symbolically used to comment on human characteristics. With their numerous anthropomorphic deities, all of which have their own individual and circumscribed purposes and roles, the Egyptians and Greeks are prime examples.
One creature that Angela Gram finds particularly inspiring, which overlaps both Greek and Egyptian cultures and remains relevant in contemporary art, is the sphinx, the powerful predatory and gatekeeping creature that kills those who cannot solve her riddle. The sphinx is portrayed in the Greek myth about Oedipus, where the creature and its interaction with our hero act as an allegory of Oedipus’ journey through identity, ego, and self-awareness. The Greeks were the first to introduce and express the concept of tragedy, which in this case can be summed up as; those who go through life unaware of the underlying truth of change and mortality are in fact not living clearly and fully, and will never gain deeper or more significant insight, meaning, or purpose. Oedipus sees through the veil of uncertainty to answer the riddle, conquer the sphinx, and fully realize himself progressing through life. By adopting and reinterpreting this ancient yet timeless myth Angela Gram succeeds in creating a new figurative language, based on universal stories, that comment on and put the human condition into perspective.
Multiple paintings of the new exhibition depict windows, an element that plays a vital role in the allegorical reading of the works. The windows represent new horizons as well as the opportunity for change by transgressing established boundaries while at the same time acting as a portal through which the ideal landscape lies, a setting worth striving towards. In this context, the sphinx appears again, now as a gatekeeper of this divide between two realms or as those tasked with crossing the threshold themselves.
Fitting her choice of subject matter and themes, Gram has chosen to stylize the human faces of the paintings with classical features as an art historical reference to the Renaissance, a period where Greek mythology was a central and reinterpreted topic of representation and where the human figure was idealized by the artists of the time.
Not unlike the masters of the Renaissance, Angela Gram applies contemporary technology in the creation of her works. Most often she starts off making a smaller sketch where the overall composition of the painting is worked out. This sketch is then imported into Photoshop where basic color is added and the work’s compositional elements (background, landscape, interiors, figures, animals, etc.) are arranged. During this part of the process, Gram also invents work elements from her own imagination and incorporates them into the composition of the painting. When the work’s composition is finalized, it’s transferred to the canvas using charcoal. The finished and colorized Photoshop composition is then used during the painting process as a basic reference.
We’re looking forward to seeing you at the opening of Perpetual Portals, Angela Gram’s third solo exhibition in Gallery Poulsen!
A Solo Exhibition by Angela Gram
16.09.23 – 28.10.23
Opening reception: Saturday, September 16th, 12.00 – 16.00
The exhibition presents nine new oil paintings
Please contact the gallery at [email protected] or tel.+ 45 33 33 93 96 for more info