Concurrently on view in the Thinkspace project room is Empress, the gallery’s first exhibition of works by Brooklyn based artist and illustrator Erica Rose Levine. A New York city native, Levine completed her BFA at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Working primarily with colored pencils, graphite and markers, Levine achieves an impressive quality of hyperrealism in her work with a minimal use of media. Her drawings luxuriate in painstaking detail, delivering impressive textures and convincing tactility. Beautifully rendered and perfectly executed, the lifelike flesh of her sitters seems to breathe. Levine’s portraits of imposingly regal women are influenced and inspired by the glamour of fashion photography and pop cultural imagery. Her drawings harness the fantasy, luxury and power of feminine beauty in a way that captures its timelessness and its contemporaneity.
Levine adorns her portraits with the addition of gorgeous details, textures and luxe finery, focusing her imagery on the performance of beauty and the ritual of self- adornment. Exploring the establishment and mutability of identity through the personal aesthetic, the artist reveals its power as a vehicle for fantasy and self-definition. Levine begins her works with a minimal and unadorned subject, and builds the details and identity of her sitter through the addition of embellishments. Gleaned from a variety of reference materials and props, these additions and ornaments become transformative. Whether it be an elaborate hairstyle, the inclusion of beautiful fabrics, dramatic make-up or jewelry, Levine captures the unassailable armor of beauty in her immaculate portraits.