Florence Solis | Doppelgänger
June 9 - 30
Split, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 in, framed by the artist
Wall Space Gallery is proud to host Florence Solis’ debut solo exhibition Doppelgänger which expands beyond traditional portraiture to capture the complexities of the self. Solis’ paintings point to our existence within multiple realities. As we navigate the social, political, and personal frameworks that tell us who we are ‘supposed’ to be, we are often confronted with feelings of dissonance as our internal desires collide against the walls of expectation. Through undulating ribbons of colour that fragment and multiply fictitious figures, Solis navigates the balancing act of our internal psyche and our carefully curated external world.
However multiplicitious our personas, all are contained within ourselves and are a part of us. It’s the process of puzzling these seemingly incongruous pieces together, to understand them as a balanced whole, that interests Solis. As a Filipino-Canadian, who moved to Canada at the age of 12, Solis experienced years of reinventing herself within a new culture amidst new found pressures to achieve and assimilate. Solis’ body of work since 2017 is a chronicle of her journey of rediscovering her doppelgänger – her 12-year-old self, prior to relocating to a new country – within her identity as a woman, artist, and member of the Filipino diaspora.
Gazing at a Distance, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 in framed by the artist
“The pieces for Doppelgänger weren’t a conscious effort to reflect my own disengagement with my identity as a woman and Filipino. It was more of a realization as I continued to paint these figures and look back on my own journey with why I started painting again. As an immigrant and adolescent trying to navigate a new country, I unconsciously decided to cut ties with my former self to assimilate in a new culture, that included drawing and painting. I focused on creating a counterpart that felt more aligned with what was expected from me, to justify the sacrifices made everyday by a diasporic community seeking a better life.
In many ways, I see the figures in my work as a reflection of myself and the idea of having a doppelgänger; a duplicate of oneself but is never true. As a part of a diasporic community, much of our identity gets lost in transition and we recreate a version of ourselves that we hope to be. This process aims to transform but ultimately, there will always be a core to our being that remains unchanged.” - Florence Solis
Peeling Oranges, acrylic on canvas, 18 x 24 in, framed by the artist
Solis chooses to represent mainly female figures in a desire to present the complexities of the definition of ‘woman’ beyond the two-dimensional conscriptions dictated by patriarchal and cultural histories.
Solis is particularly drawn in by the female gaze when choosing her source imagery. The women she uses as inspiration are often pulled from the media – internet, magazines, and fashion photography and from a variety of cultural backgrounds. In her selection process, Solis finds the tellingly subtle expressions in eyes immensely powerful. Often her figures’ gazes pierce ours, drawing us into a conversation and confronting us with their own manifold existence.
Counterpart, acrylic on canvas, 18 x 24 in, framed by the artist
Working through a process of digital collage that is then re-translated into acrylic on canvas, Solis brings to light the shallow borders between reality and illusion. Serpentine forms volley the eye around the piece, drawing us in to contemplate the exchange between suggestions of texture and flat seamless colour. Though her compositions are intricate, Solis pursues and achieves a sense of harmony. The fracturing of her figures, an act that might suggest discomfort, instead suggests that this is a natural state. All of these fragments function as a whole.
Solis’ interlaced abstract forms are reminiscent of Photoshop’s ‘paint’ or ‘eraser’ tools, which in single strokes can create or reveal in a plethora of layers. This act of concealing and revealing speaks to what we choose to reveal about our inner world. Her repetition of forms through multiplicity asks us to consider which layers are real and which are fake. Often times we create internal narratives to define ourselves which do not resonate with our true self – how do we deconstruct this figure and reassemble her into a truer balanced form? - Tiffany April, Curator
Alter Ego (detail), acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 in, framed by the artist
Florence Solis is a Filipino-Canadian artist practicing in Hamilton, Ontario. She received her B.Des in Environmental Design from OCAD University in 2012. Her multi-disciplinary background is reflected through the process and aesthetic of her work. As a self-taught artist and professional designer, her work intersects between traditional portraiture and digital design to create dynamic contemporary compositions.