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Opening Night: Lori Earley’s “The Devil’s Pantomime” at Opera Gallery

On Saturday, June 7, the eminent pop surrealist painter Lori Earley opened a solo show at Opera Gallery in Soho, New York, featuring 34 new oil paintings as well as earlier portraiture drawings of her iconic female characters. The exhibition “The Devil's Pantomime” is opulent in its simplicity. The artist beckons an otherworldly beauty by magnifying the intrinsic features of a woman's face, and reaches the sensory-equivalent of how silk stockings, leather, and dewy skin feels in pure, color form.

Lori Earley. Right Before the Rain. Oil on board.

On Saturday, June 7, the eminent pop surrealist painter Lori Earley (HF Vol. 13 cover artist) opened a solo show at Opera Gallery in Soho, New York, featuring 34 new oil paintings as well as earlier portraiture drawings of her iconic female characters. The exhibition “The Devil’s Pantomime” is opulent in its simplicity. The artist beckons an otherworldly beauty by magnifying the intrinsic features of a woman’s face, and reaches the sensory-equivalent of how silk stockings, leather, and dewy skin feels in pure, color form.

The most satisfying aspect of viewing Earley’s show in person is the unavoidable experience of being overwhelmed by the visceral fervor that the artist originally instilled in her work — physically, through meticulous dark-to-light layers of paint, as well as psychologically, by giving her characters emotional depth and unique temperaments. The artist often paints the women with pastel-colored hair. They gaze back with learned, unforgiving eyes, as if Earley is allowing her portraits the power of choice. “The Devil’s Pantomime,” Earley’s largest show to date, celebrates the artist’s nearly-obsessive attention to finding beauty in the lonesome and solitary dimensions of her characters.

“The Devil’s Pantomime” will be on view at Opera Gallery through June 26.

Lori Earley next to her work. Right Before the Rain. Oil on board.

Lori Earley. Anhedonia. Oil on board.

Lori Earley. The Transformation. Oil on board.

Installation view of “The Devil’s Pantomime.”

Lori Earley. Women in the Green Dress. Oil on board.

Lori Earley. Black-Eyed Susan (Please Remember…). Oil on board.

Installation view at Opera Gallery.

Lori Earley at Opera Gallery in New York City.

Lori Earley. La Femme Aux Cheveux De Lilas. Oil on board.

Left: Right Before the Rain. Oil on board. Right: Cocktail Hour. Oil on board.

Lori Earley. Denise. Oil on board.

Lori Earley at Opera Gallery in New York City.

Portrait study drawing.

Lori Earley. The Woman Who Ignored the Mantis’ Warning. Oil on board.

Lori Earley. Cocktail Hour. Oil on board.

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