Adrien Broom creates visions of women poised between reality and dreams, inspired by figures ranging from the dramatic character of Shakespeare’s Ophelia to the images of saints in ecstatic adoration before the divine, typical of Baroque art.
Adrien Broom’s work fits within a current trend in contemporary art that emphasizes impulses of fantasy. The artist employs a vocabulary of gestures and emotions that are instantly recognizable and strongly effective.
In the series represented in the show, Broom focuses on the lyrical images of women who seem to be floating or descending in space, making reference to specific art historical traditions. With their heavy, sculptural robes and ecstatic facial expressions her women recall the voluptuous forms of Baroque female figures. A key historical reference are the theatrical and dramatic sculptures by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, most notably his Ecstasy of Santa Teresa d’Avila. The protagonists in Broom’s work also bring to mind Pre-Raphaelite iconography of the sleeping woman, as well as the image of the drowned Ophelia, symbol for female melancholia, who was driven to madness and suicide by Hamlet.
Broom’s images of women encircled by white robes seem lost in a sort of “dreaming reverie”. On one hand, these figures appear as visual metaphors floating in a state of grace, suspended in a world with no time or space. On the other, they become solipsistic and isolated, threatened to be drown by deep waters. Just at the moment one perceives them as having the potential to transcend their current condition, the heavy folds and layers of the fabrics create a weighted, sculptural effect that leaves the protagonist in an ambiguous state of suspension. Broom uses this state to suggest the slowing down of time, charging her figures with meaning and power that transcend any physical reality. When regarded in the context of a psychological phenomenon, suspension becomes the expression of a shift towards an alternate realm where notions of reality seem to lose their relevancy.
Adrien Broom (1980, USA; lives and works in New Haven, CT, USA) is a self-taught photographer whose images tell stories exploring connections between natural world and Western culture. Through a cinematographic approach to photography, Broom creates illusions that plays between reality and fantasy. She graduated in 2002 in Computer Animation and in 2006 she lived in Florence, studying at the SACI University, and in London, where she attended a course in Fine and Decorative Art History at Christie’s. Thanks to these experiences the artist has been exposed to different fields, like music, fashion and publishing. Broom also collaborated with magazines like Rolling Stone, Marie Claire, The New York Sun and others. Recent collective exhibitions include: (2009) Portraits, Vermont Center for Photography, Burlington, VT; Images 2009, Juried Show, Shoreline Arts Alliance Guilford, CT; Portaits in-fashion – solo show, Diane Birdsall Gallery, Old Lyme, CT; (2010) Ambient Light – solo show, Diane Birdsall Gallery, Old Lyme, CT; Images 2010, Juried Show, Shoreline Arts Alliance, Guilford, CT; Spring Salon, 3D Gallery – Elwa Productions, New York; (2011) Fashion, Hans de Castellane Gallery, New York; Blurred Lines – solo show, Hans de Castellane Gallery, New York; 116 Crown, New Haven, CT; D&D Building, Lorin Marsh, New York.