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Rowan's Group: Gallery Visit

This exhibition is called Sin and Guilt by Nancy Robinson. It is currently being held in The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. This exhibit featured work solely of Nancy Robinson. It was held in one of the medium sized rooms in the gallery. The work was spread out about four works to each wall depending on the size of the piece. The works were mostly on a large scale: Two by three feet to five feet or more. I went on opening night as it was very busy however; it was a traditional gallery experience.

The main theme of her exhibit is a new take on women and feminism. Many of her works showcase her in a self-portrait among other symbolism. Through vibrant colors and imagery, we see Robinson tackle the struggle between a woman and herself. Self-image, and feminine power are often addressed in her works. One symbol that is recurring in many of her pieces is the banana peel. She takes this traditionally phallic symbol and repurposes it throughout her paintings to give power to the opposite sex. In Yellow Self Portrait, 2009, She is wearing a banana peel gown. Taking on a position of power, the figure (herself) is displaying a confidence not evident in some of the other works. This was also true of Woman Warrior where she was standing wearing animal skins and banana peel pumps. Men are not seen as characters of strength in her paintings. However, I found this to be more so because she is emphasizing female issues not because she finds men less significant. The ways that the characters are painted along with the smaller figures that seem to create their own vignettes remind me of the work we saw of Jenny Schmid. She also had female figures with a slightly disturbing quality playing on gender roles.

Yellow Self Portrait from her exhibit, Sin and Guilt, is a powerful painting. It is a 60 by 36 inch oil painting. She paints herself sitting triumphantly on a rock in a beautifully tailored banana gown. Two little cherubs are on either side of her and a bluebird is at her feet. The waves crash behind her underneath a blackening stormy sky. Fish leap up to catch little hearts as if they are trying to get food. She is definitely comfortable with her sexuality in this picture and is fine with herself the way she is. The cherubs seem disturbed, but Nancy is happy with her current situation despite what is going on around her (this is seen in the turbulent storm and seas behind her.) As with most of her works, she is interested in the feminine psyche and how one relates to the world through a feminine perspective. Although all her works are obviously different, Yellow Self Portrait is about success and confidence.

I liked the exhibit, Sin and Guilt very much. I loved how she used classic practice of realism and portraiture to portray a modern ideal. It’s modern art with a classic twist. The themes she addresses are very modern and contemporary as she paints with a neoclassical style. I would definitely recommend anyone who appreciates art to view this exhibit. It’s easy to understand as she uses realistic portraits and symbolism. One can view and experience art without the liberal views that are sometimes mandated by many modern art works. For example, the work of Margo Maggi is contemporary, but far more abstract. His pieces require a great deal of time and effort from the viewer. Although one is not better or worse, I appreciate Robinson’s skill and ease at getting her point across in a purposeful way.

I don't know how to post a pic, but here is a link to one of the paintings in this exhibit: