Christina Empedocles’s Drawings Resurrect Outmoded Ideals

by Roxanne GoldbergPosted on

San Francisco-based artist Christina Empedocles uses wax pencil on paper to capture details in crumpled fabrics and papers, evoking a sense of nostalgia the simple, carefree life of past decades. The convincingly lifelike drawings appear as photographs and play with the viewer’s yearning to smooth out the ripples and even out the wrinkles. Magic features the faces of two doll-like young women and appears as a 1950s advertisement for “Perma-lift Brassieres.” The slogan “The lift that never lets you down,” is ironic considering the advertisement looks trampled and forgotten. Similarly, Nova 400 shows posh, smiling mid-century men and women laughing, kissing and driving in a brand new Chevy. The crumpled bulletin reminds the viewer this previous time of carefree joy is long gone.

Other recent works like Mélange and Mockingbirds convey a message of strangled nature, as the drawings of birds perched on branches are crushed so that no one figure is seen in full. Just like the men and women in the vintage advertisements, their beauty and bliss has been destroyed in modern times. One can only hope he may one-day steamroll the bumps to create an undisturbed picture.

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