Shelley Adler
Shelley Adler

Sep 7 - 30, 2006

From early cave painting to the Mona Lisa and Andy Warhol portraiture is a formidable artistic tradition. Shelley Adler’s paintings of people’s faces are not portraits in the strict sense of the word in that portraits are formulated primarily as likenesses of the sitter. In Adler’s paintings the face is a springboard to a luminous and freeform tableau. They are less about the sitter than the internal processes of the artist and her intense curiosity about people, about ways of looking, and about the act of painting. These considerations are delicately balanced to reflect a deep humanism. With generous brushstrokes and vibrant planes of light, Adler forms the face into elemental and iconic essence. Each is endowed with a particular, individual energy through colour and composition. Colour and its link to emotion is a primary concern and although Adler employs eccentric, non-naturalistic colour, the faces have a very real quality. Like David Hockney, Adler often paints people she knows. For Hockney, capturing a subject’s likeness, and especially his or her personality, can only be properly done with the human touch, or as he says, “it has to be directed through my heart to my eye to my hand.”