Went 2/11/07 to see the new work by Sara Paula Hoffman at Messing Gallery/Mary Institute/St. Louis.
My daughter, getting her Ph.D. in literacy and social justice (I haven't asked her what the actual degree will read), speaks to me about privilege. Walking into a school that competes with any country club, and seeing all the beautiful kids being picked up from Sunday activities by their beautiful parents in their beautiful SUVs sharply contrasts with the urban community college where I work.
But Paula's work, which I believe are extraordinary, speaks about the pain of growing up. Something is not quite right in the childhood presented in these oil on panel 12" squares. Sometimes we see bright local color, and other times the secrets hidden in foggy translucent overlays.
Based on Ibsen's Doll House from 1879, these painting echo the speech at the end of the play when she (a women for all times) finally says she has had enough.
And Paula's "ghosts" are represented not of her mind, but as paintings of discolored and aged Kodacolor prints. We view her self-psychoanalysis in these most poignant and compelling images. See her website: http://www.sarapaula.com/index.swf