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Paradigm Gallery is pleased to announce Representative, an exhibition of new figurative and politically-charged works by Contemporary artist Lauren Rinaldi, opening* on August 28, 2020 and remaining on view through September 19, 2020. Rinaldi’s figurative oil paintings and works on paper explore identity, femininity, representation, sexuality and empowerment. For her fourth solo show at Paradigm, Rinaldi expands on these themes by focusing in on the powerful and diverse women found in American politics today.
Started in 2018, Rinaldi’s new series was inspired by the feminist debate on how women’s appearances are constantly judged, criticized and dissected; often done so with the intent of diminishing their work and contributions. This issue is prevalent in all industries, but especially in the very public and important realm of politics. Throughout mainstream media, Rinaldi found countless examples of coverage depicting what a female politician was wearing and why it was deemed “inappropriate”, rather than discussing their policies.
Typical of Rinaldi’s practice, most of the works found in Representative are not classic portraits, but zoomed in studies of the subject’s legs, shoes and body from the neck down. By doing so, the work focuses on the experiences and outside societal forces that these women, and women like them, have faced. To create the works in Representative, Rinaldi used sourced photographs of female politicians that felt meaningful and powerful to her. Before painting or drawing, Rinaldi manipulates each image through cropping, elongating or changing its composition, background and color. Color is especially important in Representative, as it is an expression that is frequently rejected or criticized in politics by men. Rinaldi uses vibrant jewel tones and color swaps, like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s jacket from black to fuchsia, to represent the bold new ideas and diversity these women are bringing to United States politics.
While Rinaldi does not specifically name any of her subjects, viewers will be able to recognize familiar leaders from across both sides of the aisle. Visitors will see snippets of stories through these works, like Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s sparkly boots as she conducts a relaxed post-office interview, Congresswoman’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s back as she walks away or Former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice’s jacket and high heels boots while she addresses the United States Army. Beyond each image’s personal meaning to Rinaldi, the sourced photos in Representative were chosen because of the public outcry and shaming each original image (outfit) created. While Representative, shows the first openly bi-sexual Senator Kyrsten Lea Sinema’s thigh high boots, it doesn’t show the hateful and misogynistic comments she endured by wearing those boots to her swearing in ceremony.
Representative explores the infantilization and discrimination women in politics, and women everywhere, are forced to face every single day. Through her work, Rinaldi hopes to expose these microaggressions by empowering and engaging viewers in a sort of camaraderie, as we are stronger together than apart.
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*Due to COVID-19, “Representative” will be available for viewing by appointment only or on https://www.paradigmarts.org/ until further notice. These policies are dependent on the current policies of the CDC, WHO and the Governor and Mayor’s offices.
Paradigm Gallery’s number one priority is the safety and wellness of their visitors. For live updates on the exhibition and appointments, please visit the Paradigm website and socials. For any questions on Paradigm’s current policies, please email email@example.com.
Feature image: Representative, 2020, oil on canvas, 48″h x 60″w, Lauren Rinaldi