Kate Zambrano’s Portraits Offer an Unsettling Concept of Beauty

by CaroPosted on

Austin, Texas based artist Kate Zambrano sees beauty differently than most people. The subjects of her paintings and drawings are obviously blessed with natural good looks (many of her images are based on models like Codie Young), but Zambrano couples this ideal with attitude and darkness. A self taught artist, Zambrano exhibits a keen understanding of how atmosphere defines her subjects’ persona, balancing their strength with their ‘barely there’ forms. Many of her pieces use light and shadow play with high contrast, usually monochromatic tones, to bring out their emotional diversity. Most depictions of women in paintings throughout history have been commissioned and painted by men for the pleasure of other men thus leading to the ‘male gaze’. The women in Zambrano’s art seem to supplant this sense of being appreciated by another with a sharp sense of being in herself. Their smouldering eyes gaze back through the page as if to haunt the viewer, in what Zambrano calls an “unsettling concept of what is attractive.”

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