The Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to announce Body Language, an exhibition of new paintings by Canadian artist Shelley Adler. As one of Canada’s preeminent figure painters, Shelley Adler is renowned for her evocative and compelling portraits of family, friends and acquaintances. Having focused on faces for the better part of her almost 30-year career, Adler’s compositions have recently evolved to include the body. Her unique ability to express the inner character of the subjects in her paintings is more fully realized by the postures and poses she features in this exhibition.
Body Language includes some of Adler’s strongest and most varied work to date. Some of the paintings are flat and abstract while others are realistic and three-dimensional. She is playful in her use of scale, mixing small oil on panel studies with larger than life sized portraits. The large canvases are impressive with their simplified, vast areas of colour and the small works on panel are alluring in their, sometimes quirky, details. Adler’s experience as a painter is evident in her loose brushwork and dripping paint that emphasizes her gestural style.
Adler is increasingly aware of her practice in relation to the historic genre of figure painting, specifically the passivity of the female subject captured by the male artist’s gaze. In this latest body of work, Adler subverts this tradition more than ever before. Her subjects stare provocatively out at the viewer, confident and assertive. Aside from a few nude portraits, (both male and female), her subjects are depicted in clothing and accessories that offer insight about their age, character and a moment in time.