Angela Dufresne has been painting joyously perverse pictures for years now, in which anyone could fall in love with anyone, be it woman, pig, horse, deer, dog. In scenes that emerge from smears, skeins, spurts, and ‘splosions of color, people are on their way to a good time, and so long farewell to any square that gets in their way. The setting is pastoral, a letit-all-hang-out Eden, riffing on classical (male) masters such as Bierstadt and Courbet, two of Dufresne's favorites. But here it’s another c(o)untry entirely, a queer domestic idyll where women (and the occasional pin-up man) hunt, frolic, fly-fish, heavy-pet, and every once in a while cut off a dude’s head. The funny thing about these, though, is that even when a scene has murderous under-currents, it’s with a celebratory consensuality. Blood is a body fluid that spurts and seeps like paint. So you lost your head: here’s a platter.
Dufresne's paintings are performances of virtuosic brushwork that render a scene just-enough while also threatening to blow it all to pieces. Figures emerge and recede in whorls and blasts of juicy pigment. The paintings change the more you look at them, solidifying and dissipating, revealing details at first unseen. Delicious probably poisonous colors mix with rich earth tones to create an apocalyptic expressionism.
Dufresne often does talk about the end times like it’s something to look forward to. If it's an inevitability, might as well prepare a feast. I think she squealed with glee in the movie theater when that planet Melancholia crashed into Lars Von Trier’s Earth. Fantasies about world endings are of course visions of new beginnings. In Dufresne’s world, human characters collide with animal features, genders mix and match—new hybrids repopulate a dead world (Painting?) that is dripping with feral color. It’s a grotesque world, larger than any life we know, but it’s never obscene. Pleasure takes center stage. It may be at times cruel but it also looks like the best party out-of-town.
- Geoff Chadsey, 2014, New York (From Press Release for Let's Stay Together at Monya Rowe Gallery, 2014)
Angela Dufresne received a MFA from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA and a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute, MO. Dufresne’s work has been included in group exhibitions at American Academy of Arts and Letters, NY; Ogunquit Museum of American Art, ME; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, CT, MOMA/P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, NY, and The Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University, MA, among others. Her work has also been the subject of a solo exhibition at The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA. In December 2014 Dufresne will exhibit in a two-person exhibition with Magalie Guerin at Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam’s, The Suburban, in Chicago, IL. Dufresne lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.