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A mid-career female artist may often be mistaken for an emerging artist, since they are chronically looked overlooked in favor of their male counterparts, especially in the highly patriarchal tradition of paint. "Battle Armor" is Karen Heagle's fourth solo show and first at Churner and Churner (the young gallery that has selected its shows carefully and wisely.) But as Heagle herself observers, women painters are finally getting their long overdue attention.
Heagle follows her previous show by continuing an exploration of surface texture and color. Utilizing acrylic paint and dutch leaf on paper, Heagle masterful executes chiaroscuro using color in shadow—as any die hard 19th C. French Impressionists would—combined with the reflective surface of gold and copper metal leaf to bounce light.
Beneth Heagle's ebullient and animated brushwork belies a more introspective and tempered thought process. In "Battle Armor" Heagle has taken up several suits of armor from Met's arms collection. The subject matter that is both masculine and aggressive in purpose yet decorative and feminine in detail. In fact this dichotomy between surface appearance and inner intention pervades the entire show. "Peacock" and "Prodigal Daughter" (image of a motorcycle), although not armor evoke the same ideas of outer presentation and inner process.
Heagle wraps up her show with two protraits of mid-career performers; Charlotte Rampling and Isabella Rossellini. They are portrayed without "armor", without pretense, so to speak. Here Heagle lets down her guard and reveals the more vulnerable yet courageous side of the artist.
Runs through June 22, 2013
Churner and Churner
205 10th Ave at 22nd Street
New York, NY 10011