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Closing Reception | The Fairest: New Works by Anya Roberts-Toney

December 6, 2018

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.47281209_982824208578602_7549106962110087168_n.jpg

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.