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Angela Fraleigh
at Inman Gallery, Houston, Texas
Recommendation by Troy Schulze

Angela Fraleigh's striking paintings are passionate depictions of individuals partially obscured by abstract washes of paint.

Continuing through August 20, 2011

With each of her shows Angela Fraleigh has delivered a set of spectacular paintings that frame vaguely erotic, ecstatic or violent (or perhaps more specifically, passionate) moments between individuals obscured by abstract washes of paint. Sometimes the abstract element resembles an oozy bodily humor, like blood, which adds a frightening mood to the work, challenging the way we interpret the veiled imagery. Her titles read like lines randomly excerpted from poetry, or like a classified document that’s been selectively blacked out in strategic spots. Her current exhibition, “by the time I tell you it will all be forgotten,” detours somewhat; they’re similar in execution but different in content. "Far as my eyes could see", for example, is a woman’s face draped in dirty blond hair, a close-up portrait, but the image has been splattered and smeared with paint that resembles a mixture of blood and milk. That’s a gross assessment, for sure, and one can imagine an even more disgusting cocktail of fluids. It takes a bit of reflection to consider the abstraction as mere color and shape.

“In these fragments I have against these ruins,” a battle between a wild boar and a pack of dogs turns Dali-esque with similar bloody-milky blobs and amorphous patches that resemble giant scabs. Fraleigh employs tribal mask imagery for “they would tell each other you can live with this,” two female faces (again with blond hair) covered by the ceremonial and dramatic masks. Blond human hair is a theme: Fraleigh includes objects and sculpture that incorporates long hair pieces, like “we will already have said the things that need to be said,” a metallic cup wigged in a blond mane. These works are similar to conglomerations of objects by Dario Robleto, but Fraleigh’s pieces in this vein employ less preciousness of materials and more organic shape than Robleto’s. Also on display are a series of pencil drawings on paper depicting animals and nature imagery, again with Fraleigh’s signature poetic titles. It’s a compelling contrast of emotional energies and materials.

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