The works in Internally Yours feature three-dimensional sugary confections, gelatin dessert molds and a bright, beguiling color palette that lure the viewer in. However, like Jeff Koons’ brightly-colored balloon animals, the characters have a signifi cance beyond their deceptively innocent appearance.
“For this show,” Nouar says, “I used food as a visual metaphor to symbolize how dangers are hidden, and how we don’t see them coming until it is too late.” For example, in her painting Sweet Entrapment, a bright-pink gummy bear smirks at the doe-eyed brunette trapped inside its stomach.
“Internally Yours represents the idea of confi nement, submission and eternity,” Nouar explains. “Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations we don’t want to be in. It feels like the world has swallowed us up whole.”
In order for her characters to achieve a diaphanous appearance, Nouar sculpted and cast tinted plastic elements that she adhered to panels, adding depth and complexity to each oil painting. This utilization of dimension in Internally Yours marks a technical progression in her work.
The techniques used in this exhibition were inspired by the 2009 group show at Corey Helford Gallery, The Multi-Plane Show, for which artists were asked to paint transparent panes in order to achieve a three-dimensional effect.
“For my submission, I wanted to utilize the idea of actually being able to see through an object to see what is inside or behind it,” Nouar says. “After several attempts to tint the glass, I realized I would have to create a new transparent layer altogether. Thus I begun experimenting with sculpting and casting resin to achieve the effect I wanted in the final finished piece.”
Nouar’s exhibition in the main gallery is accompanied by Joshua Petker’s Celluloid Constellations in the upstairs gallery. For this exhibition, Petker expanded his interest in identity and celebrity, and focused on stars from Hollywood’s golden age.
“The first spark of inspiration came after a friend gave me a copy of Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon,” Petker says. “The book is filled with torrid tales of violence and sex, and it led me to my familiar pondering about how one’s image transcends reality; how it belongs to the culture as a whole, and is thus open for exploitation and interpretation by anyone who feels a relationship with a celebrity’s image.”
Using acrylic and ink, Petker re-imagined Joan Crawford, Audrey Hepburn and Frances Farmer, among others, in his dreamy if haunting aesthetic. In his painting Ginger Rogers Without Makeup, the subject is decorated with bursts of color and unsettling smeared lipstick, but the composition is softened by the careful use of textured negative space.
The opening reception for Internally Yours and Celluloid Constellations takes place on June 11, 2011 at Corey Helford Gallery. The reception is free and open to the public, and both exhibitions will be on view through June 29, 2011.