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Closing Reception | The Fairest: New Works by Anya Roberts-Toney
Closing Reception of The Fairest
Thursday, December 6 | 6–8 pm
New Works by Anya Roberts–Toney
Curated by Sam Hopple, OCAC Hoffman Gallery Manager
Portland 'Pataphysical Society
625 NW Everett St., #104
Portland ‘Pataphysical Society is pleased to present The Fairest, a collection of new work by Portland-based painter Anya Roberts-Toney, curated by OCAC Hoffman Gallery Manager Sam Hopple. Sam is an independent curator and arts writer. She received her B.A. in Art, Design, and Media from Richmond University in London.
In The Fairest, Anya Roberts-Toney presents a suite of abstracted mixed-media paintings which speak to her own self-examination as a female painter and her sense of ownership and belonging within the history of the medium. In her practice, Roberts-Toney has frequently referenced the still life floralscapes of 19th Century French Painter Henri Fantin-Latour. Rather than re-painting these elements directly on the canvas, an assemblage of clippings of Fantin-Latour’s work and source material from contemporary fashion magazines are overlaid onto her dark, obscure compositions.
Using thick pours of reflective medium, Roberts-Toney creates black lacquered surfaces, acting as a kind of obscured mirror, referencing her desire to be seen within the art historical context of painting. This gesture also allows the artist to claim a new ownership of the work by re-working its context, touching on greater themes of beauty, power and femininity. In line with critic and theorist Dave Hickey’s concepts of beauty in The Invisible Dragon, Roberts-Toney’s paintings are meant to be viewed intimately, with the notion that if the viewer finds beauty within the work, it ignites pleasure within them to keep looking. Stemming from a long interest of cultural ideals and expectations of female beauty (learned through advertising in women's magazines), Roberts-Toney’s paintings combine figuration with abstraction and obfuscation, exploring the line between what you can see and understand and what you can't. In this contemporary moment, there is a strong desire to be seen. Visibility is power, and power isn’t necessarily experience, but presence.