For her fourth exhibition at Edwynn Houk Gallery, in New York, Valérie Belin will present her most recent series, Painted Ladies, from 2nd – 31st March 2018.
The series comprises eight large scale black-and-white photographs named after the specific brushes used to paint the model’s faces and the equivalent digital retouching tools used in post-production: Lady_Blur, Lady_Brush, Lady_Inpainting, Lady_Round_Brush, Lady_Shadow, Lady_Stripes, Lady_Stroke and Lady_Pastel.
The pictorial quality of each image, abstracted beyond portraiture, is created by the painterly interventions on the models before the photograph is taken and the digital processing of the images after the photography occurs. This interrogation regarding the nature of the image, the process involved, and what the viewer is actually looking at, creates a sense of uncertainty that questions the power of surface as a signifier.
The affected stylization of Belin’s subjects carries a conspicuous veneer of artificiality that mirrors our culture’s mainstream acceptance of staged and hyper-edited images as reality. Presenting these meta-clichés in a larger-than life scale, the series reframes the recurring questions of the relations between photography and painting, figuration and abstraction, and reality and fiction.