It was an exciting September at the Seattle-based Roq La Rue Gallery. This great art space organized quite amazing exhibitions - We Are The Flood show of works by Brad Woodfin and exhibition of Claire Johnson. But, it seems that October is going to be equally exciting month for the visitors of Roq La Rue. The gallery organizes an exhibition of Samantha Wall, entitled Let Your Eyes Adjust to the Dark. Samantha Wall exhibition is a great opportunity for all art lovers to see amazing paintings by this great USA-based artist – works painted in sumi ink, dried pigment and charcoal. These masterly executed washed ink works challenge the visual perception of the artist’s subjects in both aesthetical and conceptual terms.
Samantha Wall was born in Seoul, South Korea, but immigrated to the United States of America as a child. She received her BFA from The University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, and her MFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon. Her work has been featured in many solo and group exhibitions, both regionally and nationally. The subjects of Samantha Wall’s finely wrought portraits in charcoal and graphite are exclusively women. Usually it is the face of the figure that is rendered in sharp, nearly photographic detail while others are blended into the background (if you like photography, be sure to check out our article about the evolution of contemporary photography). The artist begins her work with a photoshoot. The shoot functions to capture the exchange of emotion and idea between the artist and model. So, many of Wall’s paintings are something between a self-portrait and portraiture. Samantha Wall is obviously interested in the relationship between the artist and the model. By exploring this relationship, the artist simultaneously investigates the questions of ethnicity, femininity, and the gaze.
Let Your Eyes Adjust to the Dark is a collection of hauntingly beautiful black and white figures of women painted in sumi ink, dried pigment, and charcoal. For this body of work, Wall has interviewed and photographed multiracial women, nurturing the emotional exchange of ideas between herself and her models. What she seeks is an image which conveys more than a conventional portrait; an interstitial space where the subject is between expression and release. Wall actually explores the very core of portraiture practice, which is the relationship between artists and models or subjects (if you like portraiture, take a look at our article about the magic of portraiture). What she seeks is an image which conveys more than a conventional portrait; an interstitial space where the subject is between expression and release. The result is a compelling series of powerful figures which convey the complexity and multifaceted expression of individual psyche.
The portraits by Samantha Wall are truly powerful and beautiful. The exhibition of her works is a must-see event for all those art lovers who are particularly interested in portraiture. The show entitled Let Your Eyes Adjust to the Dark began on October 1, 2015. It will be on view until Saturday, October 31, 2015, at Roq La Rue in Seattle. Don’t miss it!
Marelocks, detail, 2015, Sumi ink and dried pigment on paper
Holding Back, detail, 2015, Sumi ink and dried pigment on paper
All Images courtesy of Roq La Rue.