Toni Messiter: Statement
Toni Messiter's new paintings respond to the cautionary tale My Mother Said. The body of work explores notions of choice and otherness by provoking the characters response to the question - what would you do?
Messiter's dramatic allegorical figures appear as if a decision is about to be made, drawing viewers into an enticing possibility of new beginnings. Their enigmatic expressions allure the forbidden, playing into folklore and gypsy tropes as the protagonist's piercing eyes enchant audiences through isolation and intrigue. Carefully outlined, they protrude from dark backgrounds filled with fierce brushstrokes surrounding the subjects that create a mercurial and uncertain atmosphere.
The ubiquitous doll subject is a playfully absurd yet poignant reminder of the realities for girls and women in contemporary society. Drawn from personal experiences, antiquity, high-art and the three-quarter portraits from Old masters, Messiter incarnates the doll-esque notions to consider experiences as 'the other'. The result is complex characters rendered through layers of paint, fleshed out, they create tension between an ominous peripheral past and a future of unconstrained possibility.
In response to the poem, fuelled by Messiters unbridled approach to painting, these uncanny and inquisitive figures imply there may be more than meets the eye.
By Samantha Houben