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02 Nov 2018

Inhabiting Folk Portraits

Fruitlands Museum

Reviewed by Stace Brandt

Extrapolating from glinting eyes and smirking lips, Candice Smith Corby invents the perspectives of sitters from the Fruitlands Museum's collection of 19th-century middle-class portraiture. The portraits, though compelling, are no Sargents. Painted in "plain style" by itinerant artists who were paid by the hour, the sitters' and artists' identities are often little-known.

Displayed alongside their historical counterparts, Corby's paintings bridge the artist's imagination and contemporary world via humor, pathos, and formal and symbolic relationships. They Adored Each Other is a whimsical still life depicting a table set for two. Thinly rendered in acrylic and gouache on wood panel, immaculate dinner plates face a full rotisserie chicken and a shockingly pink floral tapestry. The couple, Elias and Sophronia Trafton, flank Corby's painting in remarkably preserved pastels from 1820. Despite their subdued expressions, one can almost feel them playing footsie.

Exhibition Inhabiting Folk Portraits
Start date 14 Apr 2018
End date 24 Mar 2019
Presenter Fruitlands Museum link
Venue 102 Prospect Hill Road, Harvard, MA, USA map
Image Candice Smith Corby, They Adored Each Other, acrylic and gouache on wood panel, 48 x 48 inches, courtesy of the Fruitlands Museum

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