The Portrait Society Gallery, Giotto’s Eyes, Jean Roberts Guequierre
Getting on the elevator, I dodge a man dressed in chef’s garb pushing an overloaded cart of kitchen wares headed for Chin’s Restaurant. Journeying through the Third Ward’s Marshall Building up five floors to the Portrait Society Gallery space, you realize that part of enjoying any art destination comes with the trip there. Places that make you work a bit to arrive conjure much more moxie.
Closing soon at the Portrait Society Gallery, Jean Roberts Guequierre shares her masterfully brushed series Giotto’s Eyes. A small collection of illustrations and paintings, alluding to the work of seminal renaissance painter Giotto di Bondone, serenade the viewer in the Portrait Society Gallery‘s stillness. Especially true of Roberts Guequierre‘s work in oil, detail resounds in each composition with velvety fury, easily lost in cursory glances. Intent gazes bring you in contact with her subjects emotions, circumstances and purposes.
Full of Hue
In Giotto di Bondone’s pieces like many others dealing in Medieval and folk art subject matter, imagery and symbolism stands central to conveying meaning. Roberts Guequierre spares none of these artistic languages as some pieces in the Giotto’s Eyes exhibit remain curious even in their apparent explicitness. Meanwhile four of Roberts Guequierre‘s pieces in particular tell a complex tale(s) involving several reoccurring character presences veiling copious religious symbolism held within seemingly absurd people and scenarios.
Striking in manner, Roberts Guequierre capturing a tender interaction between companions leaves a notable tidbit buried for those with religious furor. The cheek to cheek moment seen in the painting setting an older man and woman mutually beloved, recreates the exact moment Anna whispers to Joachim that she conceived a child after being barren for 50 years. The child bears a familiar name, Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
In Adjacent Galleries
Every Day presents photo montages prepared by 13 Milwaukee personalities, including recognizable names like Julia Taylor. Tasked with taking a series of photos during a 24 hour period over the course of a typical day, a variety of interpretations arise as vertical wall space supports groups photographic portraits.
Giotto’s Eyes displays until January 14th at the Portrait Society Gallery <(hours), a missed opportunity for serious art collectors when the closing passes. Every Day closes on the same date.
Portrait Society: Three shows change your outlook, by Kat Murrel, Third Coast Digest
Guequierre’s Beautiful ‘Eyes’ at Portrait Society Gallery by Judith Ann Moriarty, ExpressMilwaukee