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May 26, 2016

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With Wendy Kveck’s ‘Party’s Over,’ seeing is understanding


Krystal Ramirez

From Wendy Kveck’s The Party’s Over exhibit at Kleven Contemporary in 2012.

The Details

The Party’s Over Closing reception
March 31, 7-9 p.m., free
Kleven Contemporary, inside Emergency Arts, 520 E. Fremont St.

We all know it’s impossible to experience a work of art fully through a photograph. So don’t miss the closing reception for Wendy Kveck’s Kleven Contemporary exhibit, The Party’s Over, in which the artist has used paint in direct relationship to the subject matter.

In Party, Kveck uses broad strokes and frosting-like paint layers to render images of inebriated female celebrities. It’s the artist’s return to figurative work and continues her ongoing interest in the idea of women consuming and women being consumed. As with her previous works, indulgence is the operative word. Kveck makes no judgment with the paintings. Rather, she articulates the idea of women as “cultural signifiers of excess and desire, anxiety and fear, regret and loss.”

Click to enlarge photo

Wendy Kveck's "Back Seat"

Her interest derives from the ways in which women have been represented throughout art history and in pop culture. Past shows have included portraits of women with sliced meats layered on their faces as they stare out blankly and women covered in excessive, drooping frosting—alarming examples of beauty and the grotesque. Abstract compositions have run (intentionally) wildly amuck, distorted the idea of excess to the point that some appeared as open wounds. Blood, food and richness converge.

And now we have The Party’s Over’s portraits, in which Kveck strategically loads on the paint to enhance the drunkenness in the faces. A portrait of a sloppy drunk in the back seat of a car is controlled by a thick and intentionally sloppy mélange of paint that borders on the abstract in close range. The controlled splurge of paint accentuates the feeling.

“Moving between moderation and excess, discipline and subversion, mimesis and abstraction, I attempt to filter image and experience through the painted picture,” Kveck says in her artist statement. And she succeeds. But you’ve got to see it in person to understand how well.

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