Heidi Conrod: New Portraits

When: June 19-July 15 2009

Opening reception June 19, 5-7pm. Heidi Conrod sees many young faces in her life in Ottawa: her own kids and their friends, nieces and nephews, children of friends, babysitters. Her latest series of oil and wax-encaustic portraits is inspired by those present-day figures and ancient portraiture (specifically Byzantine and Fayum painters, 1st-century AD Greeks who used encaustic). Still, she points out, "I don't think of my pieces as portraits in the classical sense as the sitters do not represent the actual child." She usually starts with a photo of a child she knows. "But as I start to paint, they tend to take on a life of their own," she explains. "They become more idealized and alienated from their real appearances. They are metaphors for childhood and open to interpretation from viewers." At first glance, these compositions appear compressed, flattened; the gazes expressionless. But hold your gaze to discover the depth and story Conrod gives each through layers of wax, glaze, paint and turpentine. (SF)

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