Chicago based artist Gail Potocki applies the stylings of late 19th and 21st century masters in her modern Symbolist oil paintings. Some of her favorite painters influence her more in mood than technique, such as the elegance in portraits by Anthony Van Dyck, or the anxiety in Edward Munch’s work. Potocki’s emotionally charged subjects represent the physical form of her subconscious explorations and environmental concerns. For her latest portrait series, “Freaks”, Potocki portrays actual carnival sideshow performers who had real deformities. The series, which is currently on view at Century Guild art gallery in Los Angeles, was six years in the making. As in previous works, her subjects are portrayed in regal settings with a profound feeling of quiet, sadness, and hope. In the spirit of Tod Browning’s 1932 film, Freaks, Potocki treats them with respect and admiration of their “flaws”, painting a humanizing picture of them as honorable people. Although we know them well as famous characters, there is an air of mystery in Potocki’s atmospheric and imaginative settings. In the tradition of Symbolist painting, her portraits uplift her humble subjects, preferring their peculiarity over the “ideal”.