Industries of illusion and femininity

oil painting series, dimensions variable, 2011

exhibited at:

The stuff that stars are made of. Young Graduates from the School of Cluj,  Galerie Mie Lefever, Gent, Belgium 2011

UAD Graduates Exhibition, Cluj Napoca, Romania 2011

       Technically solid perhaps in a more emphatic manner, Alexandra Tatar’s paintings stem from the author’s triple fascination with painting, cinema and fashion. Poignantly melting the references to such high specificity media together into something coherent is definitely not easy. How to make a relevant painting about the communicational codes of fashion and cinema that would “speak” about the contemporary circumstances under which we construct our imaginary and eventually our identity? How to meaningfully point at the artificiality of codes and still affectionately depict iconic epitomes of feminine identity?

       These interrogations represent the crux of her endeavour. And, as if these questions wouldn’t be complicated enough to painterly try to answer them, the young artist gets another medium involved in the challenging riddle: photography, the long time sparring partner of painting. More seasoned and savvy artists would perhaps hesitate or even refrain from tackling such a daring puzzle, leaving maybe its solving to philosophers. But the young painter approaches it with a juvenile courage that is to be admired, even if one might suspect that it borders conceptual recklessness, as it is a convincing proof that we are presented with an artist for which art can’t be reduced to petty commentary. She deploys painting to approach the overlapping realms of imagery as if her medium of choice would be, for her, both the dear friend with which to casually chat about life on a couch and the only philosophy that can make sense of an environment in which artificiality had long become intricately present at the core of the civilization.

           Alexandra Tatar’s works take as concrete starting point photos of female celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe, Suzy Parker or Carmen dell’Orefice. One can detect in the painted images an almost teenage – like admiration for the heroines of the silver screen and / or the catwalk. However, the paintings avoid becoming photorealistic, thus reminding that the evocative power of painting might just lay in the very fact that it is, in many respects, more remote to its object than other, more imperative media.

Bogdan Iacob November 2011