Approaching the Figure: Anna Kincaide and Christina West

Joanne Artman Gallery
Oct 19, 2017 10:27PM

In working with the human figure, artists take on numerous diverse approaches. In portraiture, artists focus on facial features, expression, pose, as well as various small details that give information on the subject’s character, personality and personal history. The figure can also be used symbolically as a tool, such as in landscape or cityscape paintings, as a comparison point to environmental vastness. In the genre of the heroic landscape painting, artists borrowed classical themes from images of grand historical subjects, and applied them to landscape imagery, often emphasizing or exaggerating an imposing scale within the composition through the use of the human figure. Artists Anna Kincaide and Christina West take on a different approach in their work.  Both artists address the figure in terms of space, context and composition while leaving out details that would cement the work as portraiture. The absence of facial detail turn the eye to other focal points within the work, as Kincaide and West play upon our expectations.

Anna Kincaide
Joanne Artman Gallery

Working within her chosen medium of oil on canvas, Kincaide’s fantastical compositions place the figure into a surreal, photo studio-like context. Keeping the palette for the torso monochromatic, Kincaide creates bountiful, colorful, arrangements reminiscent of topiary or plumage that float, sprout and cascade down her subjects’ heads. The imagery is like a beautiful fever dream that transcends into reality, viscerally visible and tangible. In Unattainable, the long black column of a woman’s neck, and strong, elegant sweep of jawline is offset by a blooming cloud of abstracted petals, leaves and berries that carry the work into the realm of a surreal dreamscape.

Christina West
Unmet #16
Joanne Artman Gallery

Taking in Christina West’s work is an exercise in the suspension of disbelief as the artist expertly deconstructs established norms in the sculpture medium. In Unmet #16, a meticulously crafted exterior of a color and texture reminiscent of Classical Greek or Roman statuary belies a swirling vortex of colors. West obscures the identifying facial details of the carefully crafted exterior of the portrait bust by subtracting and removing gypsum from the articulated face of the statue. The dimensional, pigmented strata of the gypsum revealed below the white finished surface creates the illusion that this recessed part of the bust is actually coming forward due to the higher density of pigment and brightness of the color values. Both this process of excavating into the interior of the bust, as well as the finished work, are a poetic examination of the idea of  “other”, or the interiority that we all possess.

Christina West and Anna Kincaide are represented at JoAnne Artman Gallery  || 326 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach CA 92651
 || 511 A West 22nd St. New York NY 10011

949.510.5481 || || [email protected]

Joanne Artman Gallery