On Sept. 2, Thinkspace hosted a show featuring maniacally-detailed, metallically-textured, merrily-colored figure paintings from Molly Gruninger. I walked around the gallery stunned. This was my favorite.

Molly Gruninger: The Confines of Camouflage

Molly Gruninger: The Confines of Camouflage

The surfaces are so smooth, the contours and proportions so exact, the light source so precisely consistent, it looks like this was crafted digitally. It wasn’t. These are oil on canvas, by hand.

Molly Gruninger: Adaptation

Molly Gruninger: Adaptation

They’re so so pretty. They gleam with virtuosity. The intense texturing makes me want to touch the surfaces just to see how smooth, chilly, and metallic they feel.

As a means of questioning the expression of one’s identity, this piece investigates the human desire to communicate a persona through materialistic symbolism. Much like the elaborate displays of birds of paradise, our fast-paced and competitive world places an ever increasing importance on image in an attempt to quickly deduce character, status, and worth. And while enhancement is in our nature, it’s when ornamentation masks reality that messages of superficial importance are bound to the definition of oneself.

[Molly Gruninger; Thinkspace Art]