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Renée Petropoulos

Rosamund Felsen Gallery

Renée Petropoulos revives the large-scale circular format of the tondo, so prevalent in the Renaissance, covering it with richly evocative shapes and symbols and adapting it to accommodate her fin-de-20th-century theoretical concerns. Most strikingly, she hollows out her large tondos (almost 50 inches in diameter), in such a way that their painterly surfaces—encrusted with webs of floral and animal forms, ribbons, heraldic motifs, and, in some cases, vague remnants of text—become chunky frames circumscribing central voids. Where the Madonna and Child should be lies the vacuous gallery wall, and the frame, usually made to function as a self-effacing accoutrement to the painted beauties within, aggressively asserts its pictorial potential.

Rendered in jewellike, decorative tones, the cryptic, richly colored flora and fauna circling the donut-shaped wood panels implied a subcutaneous (febrile

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