by Mark Jenkins of the <strong>Washington Post</strong>
“There are no smiles on the faces shown in “<a href=”http://www.gallery555dc.com/home” data-xslt=”_http”>Girls! Nice Doesn’t Cut It</a>,” a suite of glowering beauties with iconic names. The poses in Jackie Hoysted’s acrylic paintings, at Gallery 555dc, come from fashion shows and magazines; two of the subjects are models on a runway. But the catwalkers are called Vashti and Medb, after mythic monarchs: the banished Persian queen from the biblical book of Esther, and the queen who sparked war between Connaught and Ulster in Irish mythology.
Most of the 11 women’s names are from ancient times and sources, although a few derive from feminist icons of more recent vintage: pioneering 17th-century painter Artemisia Gentileschi, “A Room of One’s Own”, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s” Lisbeth Salander. They’re all modern, though, in demeanor as well as garb. They stare at the viewer without the coyness expected of female subjects in centuries past.
The work of a Dublin-bred Maryland painter and computer scientist, “Girls!” grabs the viewer’s attention with attitude. But there’s pictorial flair on display, as well. Hoysted renders each figure in a limited yet striking palette, with the backgrounds and clothing usually in similar hues and the flesh in contrasting shades of tan, gray or blue. The look suggests photographic sources, and the mostly gray “Eve” — there had to be an “Eve” — resembles a solarization. The colors aren’t flat, however; they’re richly modeled, especially to depict skin. There’s plenty to see here for those who aren’t scared off by the first smoldering glance.”
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