iOS app Android app More

Margo Selski's 'Family Secrets in Plain View' Make The Personal Surreal (PHOTOS)

Posted:

5_the Mermaid

Margo Selski's paintings -- with ball gowns made of eyes, braids of hair with agency of their own and the pointiest feet you've ever seen -- look like the stuff of fairy tales. This is not totally false. Selksi was inspired by "The Tempest" and "Prospero's Book of Mirrors." Yet these fanciful and mysterious other worlds are not the product of pure imagination; Selski paints true stories of family secrets from her Kentucky youth. We seriously wonder what her family reunions are like.

To protect the privacy of her family members, Selski translates real secrets into a surreal visual language, drawing off Flemish 19th century portraiture. Yet her paintings look as if Jan Van Eyck took a little trip down the rabbit hole. Roosters and baby lambs crawl out from underneath petticoats and even the smallest of children are followed by ominous shadows. The distance from Kentucky to Flemish fantasyland is far indeed. We wonder how closely rendered the family secrets are...

Her works incorporate novel techniques to achieve an old (or even outside of time) effect. In an e-mail to The Huffington Post, Selski wrote that she concocted a recipe for fake craquelure, smearing her paintings with beeswax and then freezing them in a Chinese restaurant's freezer. She then paints inside the frozen cracks in the beeswax to mimic Renaissance paintings that have cracked with age. Another trick up Selski's sleeve involves embedding a ghostly under-image into her painting. She created her own paint that decays over time, thus revealing new things about the painting over the course of 10 years. Even the paintings' secrets eventually come to light.

Check out Selski's surreal paintings below and see if you can solve her family mysteries. See more at Glass Garage Gallery in West Hollywood, CA.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Margo Selski, "The Ladies' Underwater Gardening Society -- Miss Hanover's Treachery", Oil on Canvas, 40" x 30", 2012, Courtesy of Glass Garage Gallery, Note -- this work is one of several in a series.

  • Margo Selski, "The Ladies' Underwater Gardening Society -- Shark Management Class", Oil on Canvas, 40" x 60", 2011, Courtesy of Glass Garage Gallery, Note -- this work is one of several in a series.

  • Margo Selski, "Here Today", Oil and Beeswax on Canvas, 40" x 30", 2007, Courtesy Glass Garage Gallery, Note -- this work is one of several in a series.

  • Margo Selski, "The Mermaid", Oil and Beeswax on Canvas, 30" x 24", 2007, Courtesy Glass Garage Gallery.

  • Margo Selski, "Lullabies from Atlantis", Oil on Canvas, 30" x 40", 2012, Courtesy Glass Garage Gallery, Note -- this work is one of several in a series.

  • Margo Selski, "The Ladies' Underwater Gardening Society -- NIghtdrilling", Oil on Canvas, 60" x 40", 2011, Courtesy of Glass Garage Gallery, Note -- this work is one of several in a series.

  • Margo Selski, "Hitherto and Henceforth", Oil on Canvas, 48" x 72", 2011, Courtesy Glass Garage Gallery, Note -- This painting is part of a series that Margo painted of her twelve year old child Theo who is working through issues of what gender he identifies as.

  • Margo Selski, "Red Riding Hood", Oil and Beeswax on Canvas, 40" x 30", 2007, Courtesy Glass Garage Gallery,

  • Margo Selski, "Invisible Light", Oil on Canvas, 40" x 60", 2011, Courtesy Glass Garage Gallery, Note -- This painting is part of a series that Margo painted of her twelve year old child Theo who is working through issues of what gender he identifies as. <a href="http://www.glassgaragegallery.com/js_bin/9_Advocate_0611.pdf" target="_hplink">Click</a> to read an interview with Selski about this body of work and her son's gender identity issues.

  • Margo Selski, "The Three Tatis", Oil on Canvas, 60" x 40", 2011, Courtesy Glass Garage Gallery, Note -- this work is one of several in a series.

  • Margo Selski, "Young Lady with Teacup Piglet and Attention", Oil on Board, 16" x 12", 2008, Courtesy Glass Garage Gallery, Note -- this work is one of several in a series.

  • Margo Selski, "The Faux Paw Faux Pas", Oil and Beeswax on Canvas, 20" x 24", 2008, Courtesy Glass Garage Gallery, Note -- this work is one of several in a series.

  • Margo Selski, "Humpty Dumpty and Infant", Oil and Beeswax on Board, 16" x 12", 2007, Courtesy Glass Garage Gallery, Note -- this work is one of several in a series.

  • Margo Selski, "The Last Glimpse of the Real Me", Oil on Canvas, 30" x 40", 2010, Courtesy Glass Garage Gallery, Note -- this work is one of several in a series.

  • Margo Selski, "Himitsu", Oil on Canvas, 60" x 40", 2010, Courtesy Glass Garage Gallery, Note -- this work was featured on "The Style Channel's" top-rated show "Ruby".

Also on HuffPost:

FOLLOW ARTS

Filed by Priscilla Frank  |