opening online: Friday, July 10th 2020
Femininity speaks of power and mysticism, of fragility and immense fortitude, of growth and decay. The women in my pieces are supernaturally feminine, and the elements of nature they're fused with echo the cycle of death and rebirth.
- Allison Reimold on “Poison Bloom”
For her first solo feature with Arch Enemy Arts, Allison Reimold presents “Poison Bloom,” a seven-piece series that immortalizes the female portrait, empowering femininity in a way that feels both classical and contemporary. Each individual piece is meticulously rendered and gorgeously framed, but Reimold’s work is not merely decorative. As a whole, the series represents her meditation on the duality inherent to the femininity she depicts. Reimold explains,
“‘Vessel’ was the first piece conceived in this series, and in many ways is a piece that defined the whole series. It is about springtime, a season of change, and the passage of innocence. Our heroine carries a vessel, which traditionally represents femininity, spreading petals into the fertile earth, while butterflies, a symbol of transformation and transcendence, obscure [her face that] would normally be the focal point of her beauty.”
As if her subjects were not seductive enough, Reimold combines masterfully technical portraiture with brightly colored, subtly stylistic objects of nature. Vibrant fruit, flowers, garments, and butterflies jump from the picture plane, popping out just to pull us further in. Used in all of her pieces, this technique is most noticeable in the drawings of “Poison Bloom.” Reimold’s use of graphite on vellum creates a shadowed, velvety feel that she heightens with her use of bright, graphic acrylic in the foreground. However, Reimold explains, this is not simply a formalist trick but “brings together what [she sees] as two disparate aspects of femininity—the gently alluring and the vibrantly bright.”
At a time when the glory of summer stretches before us but regular life is riddled with risk, the duality Reimold suggest feels all too familiar.