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Mia Enell at Luxe
Art in America, Oct, 2004 by Michael Amy

In her drawings and paintings, Mia Enell places discrete, occasionally flimsy images at the center of large monochrome fields. Odd juxtapositions seem to have been arrived at by means of free association, situating this body of work within the ongoing lineage of Surrealist-inspired art. Enell smoothly shifts gears in a nonetheless cohesive exhibition, moving from an iconic, flatly rendered still life with affinities to Pop art, to an ambiguous though dramatic scene in which the objects or actors establish a coherent spatial recession from foreground to background, to isolated vignettes teetering between the frank sensuality of Francesco Clemente and the bizarre worlds evoked by Roland Toper and Enzo Cucchi.

The dreamlike Moment (oil on linen, 2003) consists of two solid-black, bust-length silhouettes of a man and a woman depicted in profile. They face each other with mouths slightly agape, surrounded by a large beige field. The profiles are set off from a pink field that lies between them by a continuous clear blue line that carefully follows their contours. Crossing this pink field are the outstretched arms of a smaller man and woman, rendered full-length in a choppy green outline, who stride toward each other from their positions within the black silhouettes.

A more nightmarish situation is depicted in The Weight of the World (pencil and watercolor on paper, 2002), in which a figure is bent under the mountainous landscape he bears upon his shoulders. The artist adds wonderful touches: two buckets are suspended from the corners of the lunette-shaped landscape, as if to properly balance it upon the poor wretch's shoulders; and the legs of the figure are shown in syncopated motion, something like a Futurist composition, though he remains otherwise locked in place. The figure's frailty is underscored by the use of brittle pencil lines. The insignificance of his plight is implied by his small scale and by his location just above the center of a vast field of blank paper.

Walking (oil on linen, 2003) is another spare and magical image. In it, the lower two-thirds of a down-stretched hand become the limbs and torso of a figure. A single large, heavily made-up, looming eye is the only facial feature in its head, which is coiffed in a thick feminine bob. The middle fingers of the hand serve as three legs, casting short shadows upon the ground, and the little finger and thumb function as arms. Flesh-colored dots and thin, broken, gray diagonal stripes suggest a desert landscape where several goofy cacti grow. With such minimal means, Enell constructs her archetypes.--Michael Amy

COPYRIGHT 2004 Brant Publications, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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