delphine hennelly

Ah, the past and present beautifully brought together in these colorful, narrative, large-scale oil paintings are the work of Vancouver-born, New York based artist Delphine Hennelly. Earlier this year she did an interview with Two Coats of Paint, and talked about this body of work:

“For these paintings, I was looking at a lot of work from the French pre-revolution period. With the ubiquitous image of couple and dog I have been eager to pin down a certain feeling of unrest and sociopolitical anxiety. The costume would be a nod to the notion or warning, whichever way you want to look at it, “History here repeating itself” in a domestic scene in its most benign form.” 

And the stories – I have questions! Who are those people and, um, is that blue/yellow sheep okay?

“I’m not trying to tell a story about my life, and there’s no real person that this represents in my mind. But then they also become weirdly real because it does enter my thinking. It’s unavoidable. I feel you can’t get away from yourself or your histories. This might sound silly, but I saw all of a sudden the guy in Country Matters kind of looks like my son Leo. He has the look of a grown-up toddler. In a way, this was my son growing bigger than me, and that would be me, and I’m mourning the loss of his childhood. Also in the same painting, I didn’t realize the sheep appeared dead until the painting was up on the wall, out of the studio and everyone was talking about it being dead. Meanwhile, the dog in the other paintings is not the same as the sheep. It’s about fidelity, partnership, companionship. The sheep is something else, and I am OK with it appearing as though it’s on its way out, so to speak. I think Country Matters is ultimately about loss of innocence. There is a bit of a sadness in that painting. The sheep is the harbinger of that feeling. More importantly, the fact that the sheep’s “death” is ambiguous, lends a kind of farcical bend to the narrative. And that would be where my intentionality would lie.”

{Thanks to Rachel Faucett of ‘Handmade Charlotte’, for pointing me to Delphine’s work}