oil on canvas
signed with artist’s stamp on the stretcher and dated 1999 on gallery label
65 ins x 63 ins; 165.1 cms x 160 cms
Rummaging through old photographs in flea markets and antique shops is the first step in a long process of imaginative creations by Winnipeg native Marianna Gartner. Born in 1963, this artist has matured a style so distinct and accomplished that she has exhibited at solo shows from Vancouver to London to Germany and many points in between. Old heirlooms of the past are given new life all over Canada and Europe with Gartner’s interventions.
Appropriating elements of late 19th and early 20th century cabinet cards, a style of photography used for portraiture which was most popular in the 1880s, Gartner mixes photographic history and records with her own imagined fantasies to create eerie representations of an other-worldly environment. Gartner says this is the process of recalling “fictional memories” of the viewer. Her subjects often hold a direct and confrontational stare resulting in them being haunting yet intriguing.
In Santa Lucia (1999), an angelic figure painted in grisaille style sits atop a pool of blackness, almost oil-like in quality, with expansive raven-like wings on his back. A sinister smile is lain on her face, as she places a flower below her, seemingly unaware of a pair of eyes gazing directly upwards at her. Balancing the ominous with the innocent, and the terrifying with the delightful is the ultimate success of Gartner.
Marianna Gartner currently lives and works both in Canada and Europe.
The Sable-Castelli Gallery Ltd., Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto