Curator, Writer, and Museum Administrator
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Form & Story: Narration in Recent Painting

Form & Story: Narration in Recent Painting

Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, University of Richmond, January 21 through May 15, 2009

Form & Story includes approximately 40 paintings by four artists who convey narrative content in their work through a synthesis of representational subject matter and the materiality and application of their medium. Hanneline Røgeberg (Norwegian, born 1963) re-writes body/self and social/sexual relations and explores and exploits the relationship between the surfaces of her subjects—skin, hair, and fur—and the surfaces of her paintings on canvas or paper.

In the works by Angela Dufresne (American, born 1969), the materiality of the paint is both immediately obvious and yet at times incredibly diaphanous, but the specificity and confidence in the representation combined with the detailed titles suggest an authenticity beyond question. The paintings of Erling Sjovold (American, born 1961) explore and re-invent the sense of place. In each of his works, he plays with spatial relationships and perspective to construct a scene or window into a world that is immediately recognizable while possessing a heightened sense of reality. Steve DiBenedetto (American, born 1958) creates intensely complex compositions that mirror the dense narrative constructs of his protagonists, an octopus and a helicopter. Of all four of the artists, DiBenedetto has created the most contrived narratives, yet he also has the most fluid, free-form application of paint, relying on the medium’s inherent qualities to provide an additional harrowing layer of violence.

Form & Story: Narration in Recent Painting was organized by University of Richmond Museums and curated by N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, University Museums.