Australian artist Madeleine Pfull’s inaugural exhibition at Nino Mier Gallery illustrates a stylized narrative of a complex suburban universe inspired by her youth. Littered with images and subjects that are familial, humorous and peculiar, the paintings center around the lives of these richly imagined characters. The subjects she paints exude a specific type, mostly middle-class women, likely from the 1980s. Her women wear big-box store clothing, live in homely domestic interiors, but with an earnestness and sense of pride that makes them all more intellectually interesting. Pfull explains that ‘they appear as the quotidian details of middle-class suburbs. They can appear fed up or bored but it is more of a sense of importance and stoicism.
The subjects could be one of many mothers, aunts and neighbors, with their familiar awkward sweaters, botched perms, floral aprons and old-fashioned curtains. Most of the works grow richly from these known phenotypes, and the artist enjoys when the viewer enhances the character’s narrative by implying extended storylines. Pfull explains further that her work articulates her fascination with taste and expressing one’s social status and personal pride through material things. For the women she portrays, she asserts that the ones who try the hardest to appear superior are the ones most uncomfortable with their lack of taste. This duality to their identity, of inferiority and superiority, is exaggerated through the medium of painting, where, like the current embracing of retro culture and fashion, time adds prestige to kitsch. Madeleine Pfull’s eponymous solo exhibition is on view through November 17th at Nino Mier Gallery 7313 Santa Monica Blvd. photographs by Summer Bowie