Purple Art

[December 10 2021]

“Butterflies,” an exhibition by Amanda Wall at Almine Rech, Brussels

A figure lies back, their hand behind their head, head turned to the side like they’re trying to see you, their neck cranked. Long legs lanky, and then big feet, sprawling toward the viewer, in a colour field haze that has the momentum of distorted perspective Wall is so known for. The feet coming at you, right there, toes that fit in your mouth. “There are definitely fetishistic elements to my work. It’s an aesthetic I really love that speaks to the limits of intimacy,” Amanda Wall affirms. The smoothness of the skin, hands, feet, gives almost a rubbery quality, but not the uncanny flesh of realistic sex robots. This is a living, breathing person. You can tell. Wall’s paintings have a wet quality that is somewhere in the field of gloss. The sheen in her work has depth. This is the point. There is that sheen depth in the portrait of a figure’s face. There is that sheen depth in the quality of how Wall paints the backgrounds, colour fields these characters float in. In another painting, the long-legged figure is sprawling once more, now in an inflatable. Red and pink, a toy that is neither a donut or a flamingo. On one side of the painting is a chiaroscuro effect, the shadows giving more of a sense of three dimensional space, the figure quite realistic; on the other side, less contrast, and more like a painting. Wall explores this sense of split worlds, like time or space is bifurcating, and all that is there to witness it is a head with a bow, staring at you with that one, penetrating eye, and a body crouching down. A hand with that depth sheen, nails painted in a matured sea-foam, holds a water glass. The water glass is realistic, almost hyper-realistic. But it is holding a red tulip far too big for that cup. A red tulip that droops down like a giant cherry on a flaccid black stem, blood red, hung there in a colour field of fern mint green. The real gives way to something unreal. Something that is fictitious, imagined, next to something I think I might have seen. There is space here for both. And you never know exactly where you’re standing.

Words by Lauren Fournier

On view now until January 15 2022 at Almine Tech, 20 Rue de l’Abbaye, Brussels

Photos by Shevi Shenaj

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