Paula Bullwinkel: BROUHAHA
July 16 - August 28
Featured Exhibition July 16 – August 28
- DeWitt Cheng
Transmission Gallery is pleased to present Brouhaha, featuring recent paintings by Oregon artist, Paula Bullwinkel, showing July 16 through August 23rd.A professional fashion and portrait photographer for twenty years in London and New York, Bullwinkel was often privy to the absurdities of life as well as the glamour and not so glamorous side of the scene. Notable subjects include a young Kate Moss, Kevin Bacon, Morgan Freeman and many others, with her work included in Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, among other publications, and album covers for popular artists. Eventually Bullwinkel moved away from photography, turning her creative impulses to painting and print making. Still photography remains an enduring element as she often pulls imagery from her photographs into the cryptic symbolic narratives that are the hallmark of her work.
While much of the Bullwinkel’s work reflects obliquely on uncomfortable concepts related to femininity, relationships and self awareness, she is no stranger to creating a bit of a brouhaha directly. Paintings expounding on the words of our former president caused enough discomfort in exhibition in Oregon that they were quickly removed. Another gallery stepped in to mount the show with questions about whether the work was “disturbing or offensive” emerging as an important component of the exhibition.
The paintings destined for the exhibition at Transmission abound with pattern, color, characters and unlikely animal companions rendered with a striking combination of bold graphic elements, raw brushwork, and careful consideration. A child sleeps through chaos at a tea party, extinct animals intersect with makeup adverts, buildings evaporate into the ether, people go about everyday interactions in a fractured world. Fanciful and intriguing, the work holds open to subliminal sensation and imaginative transport. An exhibition catalogue accompanies the show with DeWitt Cheng’s introductory essay placing Bullwinkel’s work in art historical context:
“The Oregon artist Paula Bullwinkel continues the Surrealist or magic-realist tradition with a subtle but perceptible feminist outlook, creating mysterious narrative pictures with women and girls as protagonists, exploring the lives of females through the imagination like the Surrealist women of a century ago.”