Second Skin @ Haight Gallery, Calgary

October 2012

The Haight Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of watercolour paintings by Calgary-based artist Andrea Williamson. A selection of anonymous portraits, Williamson’s paintings imagine a layered fantasy of fictive reality. Her associative assemblages employ mimetic representation of intuitive force. That is she embraces instinctive pairings and uninhibited ventures into the subconscious. Indecipherable narratives intertwine into a mirage of symbolic synthesis. One face next to another, this body overlapping that and mirrored figures intertwined. The test page portraits juxtapose alternate subjectivities, celebrities, politicians, friends and imaginary characters mingling within a single frame. Flattening difference Williamson’s doubled up doppelgängers parallel the image culture of full search-ability. Her Google goggle contemporaries deny privacy in a subconsciously shameless display of selfhood. Focusing on the burnt out and boring Williamson revisits washed up potentials of pageantry display, model behavior, and hybrid identity politics.

The associative behavior identified within each painting expels social stigma, indulging in a chameleon like shifting of profile. The characters can be this, that and or the other thing with a simple redirection of focus. A presentation of egotistical identity Williamson’s illusive aesthetic examines the inconsistencies and incoherence of digital referent. Anchored within the ambiguity of image culture any missing context is filled with common cultural participation. The empathetic scramble averts subtlety in exchange for a debate of common denominators. Precisely painted out, the scope of self ventures everywhere and nowhere, we are invited to a pleasurable party of one two three and more, someplace that we have all been before.

-Jenn Jackson

photos by Heather Saitz

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