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Snake Paintings


October 19 through November 24, 1996


Jessica Fredericks Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings by Brenda Zlamany. Over the past few years, Ms. Zlamany has shown widely in the United States and Europe. Her work has been reproduced in  The New York Times Magazine, Artforum, Flashart,Art in America, Art and Antiques, and The New Yorker. This will be her fourth solo exhibition in New York.


Brenda Zlamany ’s art can be deceiving. Her Old Master-style of painting, the thick rich glazing in which she coats her surfaces, and the exacting skill in which she renders her subjects are so seductive that on first glance the work seems traditional. But Ms. Zlamany is a bit of a trickster--seduction as well as its tail end, manipulation play to the core of her project. Ms. Zlamany has subverted the traditional artist/sitter relationship. In her last series--portraits of  bald men (artists and patrons)-- the famous artist is given the traditionally female role of sitter and the wealthy patron has been cajoled into various states of undress.


For this show Ms. Zlamany paints snakes. Like her bald (i.e. virile) men, the snakes have sexual connotations, but these paintings are also her most aggressively formal works.  The live snakes are refrigerated until docile and then manipulated into position making the subject a sort of living line. And as in her portraits, the patriarchy of art history is feminized. With these paintings the artist references what she refers to as “the most feminine passage in a Rembrandt painting” when an object (often a piece of jewelry or a tassel wrapped around a curtain) is rendered as a repetition of a single abstract element. The snake paintings seem to focus on this moment. The snake is isolated and thereby celebrated yet laid bare-- molded by the artist’s hand, its ornate skin simplified into a pattern. A Pop culture icon of strength and masculinity equated with a bracelet or a fringed weave of fabric.


Jessica Fredericks Gallery is located at 504 West 22nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday 11am to 6pm. For further information and/or photographs please contact the gallery by telephone at (212) 633-6555 or fax at (212) 367-9502.