Evolution

Evolution-Anna Di Mezza
Evolution-Anna Di Mezza 2017
Following my recent post and interview with the exciting Australian artist Anna Di Mezza, I am delighted to share Anna’s wonderful new painting Evolution.

Like all art worthy of the name, Evolution raises more questions and possible interpretations then it is prepared to answer. The following analogies are my subjective opinion alone, which Anna (thankfully) wishes to neither confirm or deny.

In the blanched, washed out afternoon light, three wavering, ghostly young women are in the process of a mysterious dissolution; of being rubbed out, literally erased from the picture. The source of the irradiating unreality is a rip (a tear in the space-time continuum?) in the centre of the composition which is half filled with a column of paint and has almost obscured completely one figure, the remaining lower part of her body is elongated and distorted. The two figures to the right are blurring proportionally to their nearest to the tear.

To deepen the mystery further the only spot of bold colour to be seen is the red in the corner of the cut-off doorway. At first glance the ball (or apple) seems to be floating but upon closer examination appears to actually be in place of a head. At the bottom left of the painting an oddly shaped shadow that apparently belongs to a figure outside of the frame can be seen. The relationship between the main group of three figures, the red ball in the doorway and the shadow is ambiguous and unresolved.

Although it appears to me  that Evolution presents a scene of  disappearance, the title contradicts this interpretation and suggests that actually the figures are evolving into being. Whether it represents a coming into being or an after-image of an hallucination , Evolution is a vivid snapshot from the kind of  nightmare you have while falling to sleep watching a late night movie.

The Myth of Light

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Toyen-The Myth of Light 1946
For most of the Second World War Toyen lived in a tiny apartment in Nazi-Occupied Prague where she sheltered her Jewish artistic partner, the poet, photographer and object maker Jindrich Heisler from the Gestapo. To distract any unwanted attention they lived in a perpetual semi-darkness and Heisler slept in the bath-tub. “Because we lived in the darkness, Jindrich loved light,”  as Toyen later remarked about this period.

Heisler was flattered when Toyen asked him to pose of a portrait. However in typical Toyen fashion the reality of a portrait was only a springboard for an unsettling enigmatic painting. The portrait is reduced to a silhouette presenting plants that are suspended in space to a pair of gloved hands whose shadow forms a wolfs head. Does the Mythe de la lumiere depict in an elusive and mythical fashion an attempted seduction?

 

 

Dreams of Desire 33 (The Mirror)

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Toyen-The Mirror 1967

A delicate and evocative image from Toyen’s later career, this time using the drypoint technique on pale green paper.

In the elaborate mirror with leaf motifs we see the reflection of an ethereal beauty from a bygone age, with her eyes closed, suggestive of sleeping and dreaming. In the background to the immediate left is the silhouette of a man that effects a visual rhyme with the girl’s face. Is she dreaming of the man, or is the shadow another aspect of her personality, her animus? As always with Toyen the more you look, the greater the sense of mystery is affected.