"Shotola-Hardt’s 'Barn Owl' welcomes the audience into the space. Following are various paintings of egrets, pheasants, swans, cranes, and a host of other avian specimens, each presented as if its winged subjects were sitting for a commissioned portrait, or study.
"As art historical metaphor, the bird has been used to represent socio-spiritual themes of regeneration and transcendence. In Shotola-Hardt’s work, this symbolism comes full circle: the bird becomes a feathered humanoid in the narrative and social seat of history painting. The intimate detail and ornate layering of the bird-figure collapses linear history and replaces it instead with the impossible dynamism and forgiveness of flight: it’s as if a Grant Wood landscape crept into the Gothic urbanism of a Dürer print. 'Portrait of Francois I on Horseback (After Francois Clouet),' for example, pays both titular and visual homage to art historical matter as framed by contemporary allegory. There is something comforting and familial in these works, but a foreboding joust with antiquation looms in the knowing eyes of anthropomorphized subjects. Jumping from canvas to canvas, it seems Shotola-Hardt’s subjects are navigably asserting their lineage and identity. Making use of myriad styles, Shotola-Hardt references and re-envisions craft, folk art, Enlightenment still-life, cubism, and cave painting in this exhibition, and the works, in turn, are grounded by a flocking palette of muted gray and a tactile robin’s egg blue ... Shotola-Hardt’s work disrupts the flow of time."
-- Teresa Fredericks, UNTITLED, a publication of PNCA (2013)
Francois I on Horseback
(after Francois Clouet)
acrylic on canvas
13-1/2 x 11-1/4"