“Islands of Daring”

Any drawings that are “like letters of a foreign language” would get my attention. This is so with the drawings of Susan Hefuna.

susan hefuna drawing

“Untitled, 1994” by Susan Hefuna — ink drawings inspired by the wooden screens of Cairo. Credit Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times.

… Susan Hefuna makes ink drawings inspired by the intricate wooden screens of her Cairo childhood… done on overlapping sheets of tracing paper fastened with rice glue… a fascinating tension between clarity and ambiguity — the drawings are like letters of a foreign language glimpsed in a dream.

And the notion of repainting famous portraits of women while eerily disguising their faces, is cheeky and provoking in a thoughtful way. The painting by Ewa Juszkiewicz shows that the scariest masks don’t have horny ears and dripping teeth. They’re much closer to what we expect to see, then don’t. They creep up on us by distorting the familiar, cobbling a fiendish false face for it.

ewa juszkiewicz painting

“Untitled (after Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun)” by Ewa Juszkiewicz, 2019: one of the artist’s altered representations of classic portraits of women. Credit Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times.

… Ewa Juszkiewicz, who repaints classic portraits of women, but hides their faces with cloth, ears of corn or a backward French braid.

(Martha Schewendener, Will Heinrich et al., “At Frieze New York, Islands of Daring,” NYTimes, 5-2-19)

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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