P·P·O·W is pleased to present and i would shine in answer/being/without becoming, our first solo exhibition of both monumental oil paintings and intimate watercolors by Angela Fraleigh. Regardless of scale, Fraleigh's work is unified by an unrelenting inquiry into social constructs of gender, power, and identity as they simultaneously reflect on art history, literature, popular culture, and the myriad ways we construct individual and collective meaning.
Under slabs and curls of paint, figures are tangled with revulsion and desire, violence and lust. Fueled by tension, these usually stereotypical images of couples caught in embraces are obscured with ambiguous power structures. Distinguishing pleasure from struggle is complicated by the rich pours of undulating paint that grip the figures and often envelop the compositions. By disrupting the narrative, spaces and pockets are revealed in between the visible exchanges, they become openings to fill with significance.
Fraleigh is a painter who embraces her medium. She accentuates the characteristics and physicality of oil paints and creates illusions by contrasting realism and abstract tactility. The paint could be covering, hiding, devouring, being expelled, but it is a force that suggests the underlying and hidden causes of what is being produced within and around the female protagonist. The active complicity of the paint in Fraleigh's images suggests there is something unseen and unnamed. Swathes of color emphatically state their presence, creating a paradox of revealing and hiding.
Depicting power struggles within intimate relationships, these specifics become universal hierarchies that affect and inform issues of politics, gender and notions of beauty. Playing with these stereotypes, Fraleigh confronts social expectations and challenges these constructs. The scale of the paintings, the immediacy of the figures' closeness and the wetness of the paint induce a voyeurism that is doubly expressed by the seductive gesture and glisten of the paint. Once you look, you become a witness and participant engaged and part of the story.
Angela Fraleigh was born in 1976 in Beaufort, SC and grew up in Salt Point, NY. She attended Boston University (BA 1998) and Yale (MFA 2003) and lives and works in Bethlehem, PA and Brooklyn, NY. She was an Artist in Residence at the Core Program, Glassell School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX. Her most recent exhibitions include; Phantasmania, Kemper Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO and Angela Fraleigh: not one girl i think/ who looks on the light of the sun/ will ever/ have wisdom/ like this at Inman Gallery, Houston, TX.