Ruth Bachofner Gallery is pleased to present Presences, an exhibition of paintings by New York artist Selina Trieff. There will be a reception for the artist on Saturday, April 21, 5-7 PM .
Born in Brooklyn in 1934, Selina Trieff’s career began in the 1950's under the instruction of Hans Hofmann, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning at The Art Students League, Brooklyn College and other art institutions on the east coast.
Selina Trieff developed her singular style of figuration through the filter of her strong abstract roots. ”From Reinhardt and Rothko,” Trieff states, “I learned that art is a philosophical exploration and that art-making involves a mysterious process of self-discovery...From Hofmann I learned how to construct a painting...his push / pull theories of abstract spatial relations provided me with a solid grounding in how to make a well constructed painting... I think the solutions to my paintings are abstract. I will use a figure or a bird or animal, but it could be a square or a rectangle if I were a different kind of painter.”
Trieff paints archetypal figures in a flattened and heavily delineated manner, which act at once as self portraits and allegories for the human condition. Her mesmerizing masked figures stand totemic in flat spaces defined by vivid passages of paint and gold leaf that reference landscape, nature, or simply the paint itself. The often androgynous characters are still, iconic and austere. They stand, slightly touching, in dignified grace as their solemn gazes command their space, confront viewers and challenge the world at large. While Trieff’s self-referential, mythic figures draw from a place of introspection and contemplation of mortality, her animals bring a sense of buoyancy to her work.
Trieff’s influences, beyond that of her early instructors, have a broad reach: The confrontational quality of Watteau’s Pierrot; the structure of Velazquez’s Infanta series; the isolation of the wise fools of Shake-spearean clowns; the flatness of Medieval painting; the mystery of Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal and his other films, all have played a role in her work, from its earliest inceptions to the present.
“For all the opulence of her work - the stained-glass radiance of the color, the theater of gold leaf and the bravura application of the paint - the power of the work is not in its will to please but in its ability to provoke. No sentimentalist, she turns a hard eye on herself and her own mortality. No mawkish naturalist, she uses anatomy metaphorically, as an emblem of certain of the great mythic themes that repeat themselves in our fantasies, longings, and fears...The magic in Trieff’s work is that, in viewing them, we realize how lonely we are for such imitations of something wholly other than the rational world we have come to accept as real. These eloquent works speak for that buried part of us that would resist forever the action of sun, wind and weather, gravity and time.” Maureen Mullarkey, Arts, 1983
Selina Trieff has had several museum shows, including solo exhibitions at the Long Beach Museum of Art, CA, The Hudson River Museum, NY, The Province Town Art Association and Museum, and The Brooklyn Museum, of Art, Brooklyn NY
For additional information please call 310 829 3300 or visit Ruth Bachofner Gallery