Private Empire

The National Portrait Gallery of Kessa

10/12/2007 - 11/02/2007

"Private Empire" is a faux national portrait gallery that will feature aristocrats, countries, and lineages that may or may have not existed.

Arabella Proffer has created a fictional National Portrait Gallery, whose works are a juxtaposition of modernity with aristocratic tradition. Her subjects sport twenty-first century punk and gothic styles as part of their formalwear, but without the mohawks and piercing, each portrait resembles typical late medieval or Renaissance portraits. Proffer notes: ěthis series centers around balance of counter-culture and tradition; how punk or gothic styles might be adopted by aristocrats and socialites for serious portraits left as a reminder of their legacy. What was once considered rebellious has now become widely accepted. Traditionally, each portrait preserves what may later be a historical moment. In the case of this series however, the ěhistoricalî moments are of my own imaginationî

As complements to the portraits, Proffer has created genealogies, short biographies, country maps as well as a site-specific installation. Themes of decadence, beauty, entitlement and power play throughout the series.

Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Arabella Proffer is a Cleveland based painter, illustrator and co-founder of the indie label Elephant Stone Records. She received her BFA from California Institute of the Arts and has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Ana, Laguna Beach, Boston, Austin, Cleveland, Cincinnati, London and Moscow. Her interests revolve around a fascination with punk fashion; aristocrats; Elizabethan portraiture; Ian Schrager hotels; vapid socialites; eastern European cultures and rock ní roll lifestyles.

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