From Andrew Frost…
Deborah Paauwe says that her work “…concerns itself with fictions distilled from the real. Using girls and women as subject matter arranged in tableaux form, I try to move across the shifting and interlocking world of childhood memories and their impact on adult life.” The result in her latest exhibition The Untold Story is a series of five, large and square format images of figures, all young girls, and their faces obscured by hair.
Paauwe’s work has often delved into what might be called an ultra-feminine aesthetic of pastels and gauze, fancy dress and formal composition, the ‘girliness’ of the images heightened by the distancing effect of her visual style. In this latest body of work, the subjects are set against bright patterned backdrops of gingham, flowered and striped fabrics, the averted eyes and faces of the subjects denying a connection with the viewer. The strategy of picturing these ideals of innocence with such heightened and absurd cliché overloads the pictures to the point of abstraction – and while no one could take them seriously as depiction of actual girls, the ideal is revealed as an abstraction itself.
Until June 28
Michael Reid, Elizabeth Bay
Pic: Deborah Paauwe, Crown of Roses, 2013. Giclee print, 120×120 cm.