In her in debut solo exhibition at Scott Richards Contemporary Art, Anna Halldin Maule will present a series of hyper-realistic, illusionary figure paintings. A reception for the artist will be held on August 7, 5:30-7:30 pm. The exhibition continues through August 30.
The dictionary definition of “glamour” reads: magic spell; an exciting and often illusory romantic attractiveness; alluring or fascinating attraction. The word “glamour” is often used to describe women’s fashion, but in its fuller sense, it is an apt description of the exquisite beauty and psychology behind the paintings of Anna Halldin Maule.
Using a restrained approach to composition and tonality, Halldin Maule explores subject matter that is anything but restrained, and actually verges on the surreal. Her lovely, youthful models are adorned in strange costumes: a headdress of cut-paper flowers, masses of cotton wool, or a birdcage releasing a cloud of gilded butterflies. She attributes her choice of a muted color palette to growing up in Sweden under the influence of the Scandinavian minimalist aesthetic. Though balanced and harmonious, the female figures are larger than life (the artist cites Chuck Close as one of her influences) and painted in hyper-realistic perfection, magnifying the focus on every element of the composition.
On one level, the paintings are specifically about women and their conflicted relationship with appearance; on another, they are about our helpless shared obsession with artifice, and our tendency to disregard underlying substance. By reminding us of the lure and potential danger of our desire for youth and physical appeal, the works are keenly relevant to how we navigate the world we live in.
Although Halldin Maule uses professional models as subjects, each painting can be read as a psychological self-portrait. She admits that she succumbs to the temptation of glamour along with the rest of us, stating, “Women of today are assaulted by a continuous stream of media bytes dictating how we should look, think, and purchase. My latest paintings are part of my ‘Persona’ series and through them I explore the ‘masks’ women wear in their quest to discover their true selves.”
Halldin Maule is an exceptionally talented painter who is receiving an increasing amount of deserved attention. This will be her first solo exhibition in San Francisco; however she has already exhibited internationally and is held in many private collections. Born and raised in Sweden, she now makes her home in Hawaii.