new-york

Peggy Preheim

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

There is something inherently obsessive about miniature portraits—an exquisite, hyperfocused sort of scrutiny that shrinks a presumably full-scale beloved to pocket-size—and it is this quality that animates Peggy Preheim’s recent show of thirty-seven pencil miniatures made between 1993 and 1997. In this album of intimate distortions and meticulous fantasies, each image measures just a few inches across, floating in the milky void of an 18-by-15-inch sheet of paper. The portraits are richly worked and tonally varied, built up with tiny strokes that disappear into a seamless photographic illusion. The association with photography was overt—a number of the drawings appropriated anonymous, Victorian portrait photographs of children—yet the artist’s preoccupations seem to require the intense, hands-on involvement of drawing, the old-fashioned, almost scatological pleasure of mark-making.

In

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