Opening this coming Saturday, June 15th in the Hampton’s quaint QF Gallery, painter Annika Connor brings life to a new body of her signature modern romance. In her traditional style, “The Hitchcock Kiss” is literal eye candy; a feast of grandeur and opulence in both sumptuous color and decadent subject matter. Connor’s paintings are truly escapist, letting the viewer indulge in a romantic fantasy, and weave their own narratives as they get lost in the corners of Connor’s stately rooms, Technicolor gardens and warm embraces. Its easy to slip away into a daydream with any of Connor’s tableaus as the suitable backdrop. Rich and plush, the interiors evoke a certain romance from days past- bringing to mind tales of great love stories, before the impersonality of technology and modern life complicated the world. The carefully calculated rooms could be lifted from old Hollywood, from great cinematic scenes from the silver screen in the 1940s and 50s- when the message was passion, glitz and glamour. In fact, Connor’s paintings function much like films- which were initially created to give the audience a brief retreat from the stresses of their everyday lives with sixty minutes of artistic escapism.
If you notice, not every painting at a museum warrants a bench being placed in front of it. Sure, some are used for tourists to rest their tired feet, but most are placed purposefully in front of pieces that encourage longer contemplation- more than is comfortable when standing. That said, Connor’s pieces are exactly what these benches were created for- to sit and take your time with, lazily mulling around the canvases with the sweet languor of a hot day.
You can imagine yourself drawing back Connor’s thick velvet curtains to gaze out the window, as chandeliers twinkle inside a jewel-toned state room, or the heavy aroma of the shade underneath her bright blooming cherry blossoms. Animals are treated with the same ornamentation, their coats or feathers becoming somehow ornate, like the richness of the textiles in the interiors she paints. Even her portraiture is transportive, bringing the same strong sense of intimacy that a successful cinema classic can make their audiences feel between bites of popcorn.
QF Gallery is an appropriate setting for this imaginatively indulgent exhibition. Just as the time spent gazing in front of each painting, the Hamptons are also an idyllic setting for an escape from the ennui or stressors of real life- even if only temporarily. Once the summer is over, most residents of the Hamptons return to the grit of the city, just as one can’t spend all day immersing their imaginations into a painting. But the beauty of both the Hamptons and Connors’ pieces, is that they are always there for the taking, welcoming viewers to return time and time again to momentarily let go and get lost in their own narrative fantasy.
Annika’s work was featured in Opulent Visions at Ford Projects, and in Watercolors, a survey of contemporary watercolor painting at Phillips de Pury in 2012. Annika joined the Screen Actor's Guild in 2007. Her performative work directly influences and informs her paintings. In 2006 Annika founded Active Ideas Productions as a means to explore ideas outside of the studio that address the intersect of art and business. In 2002, Annika received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Annika grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and spent her summers in the Swedish Archipelago. She has lived in Barcelona, Chicago and London, and currently lives and works in New York City. WM