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MMGalleries is pleased to announce Mirabile Visu, a group exhibition from October 18, 2007 to November 26, 2007, presenting 7 figurative artists showing for the first time at MMGalleries: Rhianna Almendras, Serena Cole, Catherine Epstein Haley, Laurie Lipton, Michele Muennig, Christina Pettersson, and Linda Wallgren. Reception: October 18, 2007, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Mirabile Visu—from the Latin: wonderful to behold—attempts to inspire our thoughts with drawing and paintings telling stories about forgotten moments of childhood and adolescence. The artists show a spectrum of narrative visuals: surreal, romantic, or playful, they are certain to evoke some dream we had, or the moment in childhood when we discovered the unknown, revealing the vulnerability and angst of youth.  Mirabile Visu aims to portray the psychological implications of desire and of the true human nature.

Rhianna Almendras draws children playing at the edge of the sea, intent to explore the feelings of the unknown: alienation, excitement, danger, spontaneity, power and vulnerability. Heavy watercolor paper is laden with watery paint mix, then sealed with acrylic matte medium, while the figures are drawn in charcoal. The images, taken from video stills, are symbolic of an experience frozen in time.  Almendras lives and works in New York City.

Serena Cole’s portraits of women in watercolor, pencil, and gold leaf on paper, at first sight may appear as images of beauty and seduction. But soon after, we realize that the beautiful faces are also masking something disturbing, while expressing insecurity and a feeling of lost innocence.  Seeking to symbolize the loss of idols, Cole searches through images of fashion magazines and on television, to find—as she states: “unattainable, inhuman images of beauty and elitism, which have come to sedate our senses.” With its decorative tracery and gold-leaf auras, Cole’s portraits remind us of the desires and anxieties of an age, their aspiration to eternity, and the proximity of death.

In her series of works on paper “Blue Parabola”, Catherine Epstein Haley explores the often unspoken stories of young girl experiences.  Haley Epstein also seeks to remind us of the “psychological and emotional complexities hidden behind the seeming innocence of the very young”.   Thematically, her works represent the raw, wild, still unleashed energy in children.  In spite of the powerful images,  Epstein Haley’s drawings are gentle, playful and carefully reduced. The simplicity of the graphite line and the monochromatic watercolor seem to enhance the subject matter, offering the chance to remember those innocent yet complex feelings of childhood.

Laurie Lipton expresses her perceptions of reality in highly accomplished drawings that lace myth and symbolism to express the human condition.  Inspired by the imagery of alchemy and mysticism in Europe, Lipton’s drawings portray ideas of Freudian nightmares and oft-tortured worlds, and leave you with a bizarre, unsettling feeling.  Lipton’s psychologically provocative imagery seems to channel anger, angst and inner struggle as a reaction to life as the perfect child.  But despite what one might feel when viewing her work, Lipton takes it all with a sense of humor, hiding jokes and silly innuendoes in her drawings. Laurie Lipton lives in London, England.

Michele Muennig creates complex narratives from childhood fantasies and surreal dreams. Her surrealist oil paintings on canvas and drawings encipher a moment suspended in time, then feed it back to the viewer through a series of trick mirrors filled with baffling and alluded meaning. Her intention is “not to portray a specific message but to give visual substance to emotion”. 

With absolute discipline Christina Pettersson accomplishes astonishing detailed graphite double-self portraits or images of objects floating in the center of large expanses of blank white paper.  With works such as Double Self Portrait, Incubus, Pettersson invites us to view a world reminiscent of modern fairy tales, with dream princes becoming real.  In her large-scale drawings, Pettersson examines the concept of self as an evocation of “one’s history, not as one lives it in act or circumstance, but as one’s imagination creates it.”  Christina Pettersson lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Linda Wallgren seeks to express a memory—partly loving, partly tortured—of the challenging time in establishing an identity as a girl and as a woman.  Wallgren’s dolls oil painting with fine lines and a reduced choice of colors seem to perfectly remind us of the delicateness and fragility of a girl’s early years.