Valeska Soares' Doubleface paintings consist of vintage oil portraits of women that the artist has modified to underscore the allure and mystery triggered by covered objects. Soares sources and recovers...
Valeska Soares' Doubleface paintings consist of vintage oil portraits of women that the artist has modified to underscore the allure and mystery triggered by covered objects. Soares sources and recovers portraits, affixes a second canvas to the back which she paints in monochrome or polychrome, referencing color samples from the original paintings. She then cuts and folds over a piece of the assembled painting to reveal the portion of the original portrait that she finds most evocative, thus disrupting small portions of the composition. Through a single incision in Doubleface (Buff Titanium White/Sap Green) (2019) Soares reveals the subject’s eyes, nose, and mouth. Capturing the averted gaze of the unknown model, as well as traditional motifs of femininity like red lipstick, the fragmented portrait conjures a deep, eerie sense of the unfamiliar and suggests an uncanny vision of sophistication and desire.
Desire is a central theme across Soares’ interdisciplinary practice, deployed in diverse strategies to address issues and concerns through materials, forms, and experiences. Soares states, “desire is like a vanishing point: every time you go towards it, it recedes a little.” Another motif in her work represented in Doubleface (Buff Titanium White/Sap Green) is the transference of personal memory and collective history; re-purposing a second hand objects that she considers charged by “the lives and memories [of former owners], becoming for a moment in time, part of those personal narratives as each one travels from subject to subject.” Soares’ art encourages the widest possible viewer experience, rejecting the idea of a singular reading or message. Describing this interest in unrestricted opportunities for engagement, she states, “what interests me is the surprise in how each person is going to perceive the piece. And even the same person, on different days—depending on the sun and the moon, a dream they had, how they woke up—the work is never the same.”
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