Using painting as a tool for plausible invention, Cris Brodahl’s work examines the construction of illusion. In Wax Alter, she portrays a porcelain Madonna sculpture, using the subtle devices of representation to quietly subvert the image. Rendered in greyscale, Brodahl adopts the language of photography to enforce expected modes of seeing: the blurred horizon line in the distance creates believable perspective, and the object’s reflection enforces solidity of ground. Describing the figure itself, however, Brodahl dulls the contrast, inviting confusion between flat and three-dimensional space. ‘Collaging’ in the half-face of a fashion model and an ostentatious hairstyle, Brodahl accentuates uneasy relations between reality, representation, and artifice, centred around the female form.

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