… and they are not going back on. These portraits free the real sitters of Holbein, Vermeer and Klimt from the constraints of corsets and convention. It’s the 21st century and women will no longer be compelled to be beautiful for their audience; only for themselves, and on their own terms.

So what might these sitters have been thinking? Avenda seeks to give them a modern voice. The corsets are off, and they are not going back on.

Homages and grafts from Schiele and Klimt continue a conversation already left hanging in the artistic air … and propose a dialogue with painters who will surely follow.

“Avenda’s ongoing series holds a mirror to our own vulnerabilities and asks us to think again. In the media circus of the 21st century we are bombarded by images of apparent perfection, yet we appear to miss the entire point of the beauty of soul. Her work looks back over centuries of portraiture and re-evaluates the place of women in societies that demanded beauty from them. In her figurative work Avenda seeks out unlikely physical shifts to reveal an inherent awkwardness, throwing into question what we are led to believe is beauty and beautiful.

“Often multilayered, Avenda’s images demand we question the fragility and instability of our seemingly certain reality. Using abstraction she creates intense personal moments masterfully created by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal, luring the viewer round and round in circles. Her paintings become fascinating, new brushstrokes and colours emerging over time, the whole growing more precious the longer it is viewed. These are not works you tire of.”