By Angel Baker for White Hot Magazine
A sensitive combination of commercial viability and unassuming fine art, Stina Persson’s solo exhibit, Immacolata and her Friends, is now showing at Gallery Hanahou in New York’s busy NoHo neighborhood. The tiny blond and white oasis which currently calls itself home to the vibrant real women portraits is part of a collective force that captures the feminine mystique of several boldly named southern Italian women. Created for the German Magazine Squint, the Stockholm based artist generated a series devoted to “Sicily’s mix of saints, corruption, and beauty” which embodies a delicate balance of traditional female idolatry and the ever-changing concept of femininity.
Persson, represented by CWC International who curated the show, has earned international acclaim for her striking style with clients like Godiva Chocalatier, Atlantic Records, and The Swedish Broadcasting Company, and her work has appeared in Elle, Flaunt, Marie Claire, Nylon, Jane, and several other international publications. Yet Immacolata and her Friends doesn’t bear the mark of corporate funding and certainly isn’t saying that Bloomingdale’s is better than Macy’s (both of whom are also her clients). Rather, Immacolata and her Friends, based on real Sicilian women whom the artists finds untraditionally fashionable, is counter-intuitively rough around the edges though it maintains a natural fluidity much like a snap-shot of a memory. The artist’s deliberate refusal to digitally alter or fine-tune these pieces comes from the self-professed desire to embrace these women’s dramatic imperfections which emanate, like an impulse, from their old-world beauty.
Ink, water color, and paper collage, Immacolata and her Friends as a collection is remarkably calming. Persson doesn’t just paint women - she loves them and she brings their endearing, ugly, doe-like, vampish, and shy qualities to the paper with the soft touch of an admirer too bashful to confront the object of her affection. Not that any woman from the collection is any less than ubiquitous. Each of the many women like Archangela, Anunziata, and Crocesfissa are sin-city seraph-like, oozing a molten sexuality that bleeds a red-hot rainbow of skin and seduction. Incoranata, or the crowned, a looming dark-haired and willowy woman captured in 16” x 20” portrait, is the essence of Persson’s Italian royalty. She is bold to the brink of exhaustion. Her gossamer crown is sanguinary, appearing too heavy for her waif-like stature but she holds herself with resolve, absolution. Speranza, or hope, is the lighter side of Persson’s blithe battalion, sent like an emissary to the artist as if to invite her to disregard Sicily’s milieu of dead saints and prevalent corruption. Surrounded by fuchsia, orange, and yellow, her world is one of prophesy, one where the kindred heart is translucent and the spirit is tangible.
Immacolata and her Friends offers a unique perspective of the autonomous Italian region, leaving socio-political commentary at the door, letting the women be the marquee in this subdued, yet stunning exhibition.
Immacolata and her Friends is showing at Gallery Hanahou, www.galleryhanahou.com, located on 611 Broadway, Suite 730, at the corner of Houston and Broadway, through July 6, 2007. Stina Persson’s work is available for purchase online at: http://www.juniemoon.jp/eng/shop/artwork.cgi?c=2. For more information about Stina Persson, visit: www.stinapersson.com.
Angel Baker is a writer in Los Angeles.
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