Over the centuries, great painters have succeeded through portraiture in reflecting more than a particular face, but rather the face of the human condition. In the tradition of Watteau and Velasquez' clowns (and Shakespeare's fool in King Lear), Selina Trieff's paintings of animal and human faces belie a profound understanding of what remains true for humans over time in a manner that is both whimsical and mysterious.
Called "an American original" by New York Times art critic John Russell, Trieff's somewhat autobiographical classical gold-leaf and oil portraits of human figures read paradoxically like characters on a modern stage wherein the artist, the painted archetypical figures ("neither male nor female...(but rather) the face of the soul") and the viewer, are engaged in a riveting dialogue. For Trieff, her animal subjects (pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, her dog Louie) are both "hilariously funny and at the same time very sad, and reflect symbolically the human condition, "like my dog Louie, my alter ego. Re-creating the spirit of animals...has allowed for a kind of explosion of paint," she adds. Trieff's exquisite drawing ability shines through in these fantastic portraits. Whether of human or animal, Trieff's portraits are allegories for our time, or any other. Said art historian and art critic Eileen Kennedy: "If Shakespeare had had a sister, she would probably have been Selina Trieff."
Video about Henry and Trieff: