Angela Dufresne's (b. 1969; Hartford, CT) paintings are situated in frenzied, psychologically-charged spaces of conflict and resolution, inspired by a bygone era of Hollywood glamor and heightened drama. More closely aligned with a tradition of cinema than painting, space in Dufresne's compositions is constantly in motion. The artist's bawdy, defiant figures exist in the dreamlike realm that exists somewhere between the silver screen and the more enigmatic off-screen sites of unbridled imagination and risk-laden adventures. In Dufresne's constructions, the notion of desire is central-to be wanted, recognized, taken. The artist's uninhibited use of color, gestural brushstrokes, and layers of painted imagery hint at an internal pathos in each painting, one that lays fertile ground for operatic drama, queer imagining, and a radical undoing of familiar narratives and character tropes.
Many of Dufresne's works reference canonical history painting and cinema, but often upend the heroic narratives that have dominated each genre. Bodies frolic in promiscuous and cross-species fraternity, populating a painterly realm that is part psychedelic dreamscape, part grandiose, mythical neverland. The artist envisions these fanciful, cinematic scenes through a queer gaze, revisiting iconic vignettes from classic cinema to insert lesbian imagery, distortions of starlet likenesses, and hybridized bodies. In so doing, Dufresne offers alternative readings of classic cinema and history, flipping the dominant social attitudes towards women and queerness that prevailed at the time, and spinning her own liberated, auto-fictional imaginings of alternative economies of social, sexual, and cultural exchange.
Solo exhibitions of paintings by Angela Dufresne have been presented at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, MO; and the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York, New Paltz, among others. Her works have been on display in exhibitions at the MoMA PS1, New York, NY; deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA; Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME; RISD Museum, Providence, RI; American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY; Leslie-Lohman Museum, New York, NY; Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY; Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH; Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; and Rose Art Museum, Waltham, MA, among others. The artist is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Civitella Ranieri Fellowship; Guggenheim Fellowship; Siena Art Institute Residency; Yaddo Residency; Headlands Center for the Arts Resident and Jerome Foundation Fellowship. Dufresne currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.