The Drawers - Cynthia Karalla Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Like a private eye, Cynthia Karalla follows the clues and researches her subject. Honest but ruthless, her definition of borrowing is an extrapolation. She gives back, but she gives it back in an altered state.

With the belief that art is everywhere and in everything combined with her studies in Hermetic philosophy (the changing of lead into gold is a metaphor for taking a base human being and changing them into a supreme being), Cynthia Karalla developed an idea first generated a year earlier in Italy when she recognized a slight similarity to Mona Lisa in the man who eventually became the model for Untitled, Mona.  Researching Leonardo da Vinci’s work, Cynthia traced the model that he had used for his Mona to the male model used for the painting of St. John the Baptist and many other female Madonna portraits. The first photographs that Cynthia took for Untitled (Mona) show a young man posing who is exuding attitude. He is far more himself than Mona. She made the clothes and built a podium, recreating the scene. During eight days, over a two week period, and taking more than 4,000 photographs, Cynthia coaxed the young man into his role. The change is astonishing.

In Jesu Christo, the viewer is brought painfully close to the dripping painted wounds and deathly glance away - as close as a kiss – so that the viewer is placed in a compromised closeness.  Karalla has breathed life into these stiff icons. Rita de Cascia (Santi) is another example. She is alluring, beautiful and sexy in her religious possession.

The idea of sneaking up and capturing is especially impressive in the photographs of the eyes. Here images reflected on the eyeball (these are not digital insertions) throw back to us that which the photographed eye is seeing - without Cynthia included.  She has used the angle of reflection that best suited her stealthy tracking and passed it through her technical expertise to surprise us with her mastery.

Copyright © 2006,  Headbones Gallery, The Drawers