Husk Gallery is pleased to present the first exhibition of the Belgian artist Nathalie Pirotte. Pretty Chimeras proposes two series of recent paintings, portraits of women, masked with animal heads or whose eyes are intentionally covered with paint or integrated in the background.
In Effigies, her intriguing series of women with animal heads, she clearly explores and interrogates the female stereotypes. These masks of rabbits, hinds or felines are reminiscent of the Chimera, an imaginary creature compounded of incongruous parts. By adding these animal heads as stickers to the bodies, she creates a woman’s identity which is hoped for, but at the same time illusory or impossible to achieve. The absence of the face/eyes induces the spectator to a more pictorial reading, going from the face to the context. It increases the focus on the intimate, secret side of the subject.
In Tag Rose (2019), which belongs to the recent Tags series, the aim is to use high contrast to distance the basic figurative image of a woman, depicted in the background as a painting in black and white, by the presence of sensual pictorial matter, pink impasto brushstrokes applied by the painter as abstract signs, creating a new space. The layers, images of different types, are superimposed and here again end up making a canvas by hybridisation. Tags or highlights, abstract signs, impose themselves on a relatively smooth image representing a woman as a memory of the action of the author, another woman.
Created with the gaze of a female artist, her women portraits feature both eroticism and feminism. Depicting beautiful and apparently strong women, the construction of the female identity stands at the centre of Nathalie Pirotte’s artwork.