Genieve Figgis’s painted tableaux often seem to present a dramatic event, like an operatic performance, but one whose coordinates can’t fully be discerned. The Irish painter’s characters, who adopt theatrical poses or stand in groups, as in a conversation piece, are well aware that they are on public display. Judging by their regal costumeslong, wide dressing gowns; tuxedoes; gaiters; elaborate headgeartheir time is not our own. Moreover, they move about in spaces unlike ours. The paintings provide glimpses of frescoed ceilings, chandeliers with candles, gilded furniture with bouquets of flowers, arches and expansive windows, heavy curtains and carpets, pianos and canopy beds. On the walls hang portraits whose subjects are depicted with the same level of realism as the characters themselves.
Typically created without preparatory drawings and left unframed, the paintings
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