philadelphia

Emily Cheng

Schmidt-Dean Gallery

Emily Cheng photographically reproduces images from Renaissance paintings on linen and then layers the black and white grounds with her own painted additions. In the six oil paintings in this exhibition, Cheng very nearly obliterates the photographic image, and the portions that remain are intended to serve as clues to her own painted marks. Along with transparent washes, the artist creates abstract forms that frequently suggest puzzle pieces.

The complexity of the relationships between these formal elaborations begins to create a dialogue about pictorial language itself, suggesting that Cheng hopes to discover meaning through her formal interventions. Triple Convergence (all works 1990) is the most obviously symbolic work in this show. A fully modeled blue ribbon tied over a red, heartlike form floats above three nearly obscured figures from Botticelli’s Madonna Enthroned with Six Saints

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