Chalk Horse will present its first show with Sydney based artist Madeleine Pfull, who graduated from Sydney College of the Arts in May. Pfull’s painting practice is reminiscent of photographer Cindy Sherman’s approach to image making in that the artist dresses up as the characters she paints; she ages herself with makeup and puts on wigs in an attempt to emulate 1980s Australian suburban housewives. Describing this process she says: “I think I have similar impulses to writers and actors, of making up stories and involving myself in a character’s life. I am fascinated with performance and mannerisms which can provide a whole backstory to the person they portray.” She mimics particular expressions, idiosyncrasies and postures and mines Australian vernacular to create paintings that explore ideas of taste and kitsch. Sao Lady named after the Australian cracker, features a woman in front of a reproduction of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. Regarded as an avant-garde masterpiece, in this context the painting becomes the quintessential embodiment of kitsch, a cheap imitation. Pfull’s is not about denegrating her subjects. Rather she reframes the way we see these women, attempts to separate them from the mass of suburban cliches by presenting them as individuals with their own aspirations and concerns. Each subject is painted twice in a slightly different iteration the second time. One portrait shows the characters’ guarded exterior while the other depicts their truer more vulnerable side. The exhibition shows until June 1.
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