Face Off

Painter makes art out of wrinkly old ladies.

Cleveland theater
Local artist Baila Litton isn’t very flattering to her subjects in the new multimedia display Herstories: Volume II. Laugh lines rip deep fissures into women’s faces, crow’s feet form dried-up tributaries, and wrinkles spread into intricate road maps. The exhibit opens today at the 1point618 Gallery. “Some of these works are quite disturbing,” says managing director Robert Maschke. “The women are very old. Their faces are magnified in very large portraits -- some as high as six feet. It’s a very bold statement and very striking to behold.”

The 12-piece show serves as a sequel to Litton’s 2003 series, which explored women’s personalities through layers of paint, fabric, and photographs. Volume II expands on a similar theme -- only this time, elderly faces form the basis of the artist’s “skin-on-skin” commentary about history and gender. “She applies layers of symbolism, thus creating a story,” says Maschke. “It’s about mapping the qualities that come out of these faces.” Most of the portraits feature solo sittings, although there are a few works -- like the striking “Beatrice as Ursula” -- which include composites of several women. “It’s such a great experience to see all these pieces in one setting,” says Maschke. “[Litton] produces art from such different directions.”
Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: Aug. 3. Continues through Sept. 30, 2007

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