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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, "Stranger Than Paradise:  Josephine Haden,"  June 5 - September 13, 2009.

S T R A N G E R  T H A N  P A R A D I S E J o s e p h i n e  H a d e n
© 1996-2009 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. All Rights Reserved.  Reproduced with permission from the Virginia Museum of fine Arts

“The magic moment is to finish a piece and like what you see,” says Josephine Haden, whose work will be on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts beginning June 5 in an exhibition titled Stranger Than Paradise.

Haden lives in Arlington, Va., and was the winner of a 2009 VMFA Fellowship. Her paintings are included in public and private collections in the U.S. and France, including the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Ark.

The exhibition will be on view in VMFA’s Pauley Center through Sep 13, 2009.

“Starting with landscapes, I found myself creating mysterious and distant places that hovered on the edge of reality,” Haden says. “Filling the canvas with lush vegetation and dense forests, I played with scale and space while relying on a base ground of gestural abstraction.”

She calls her latest series of works “Globalization,” meaning that everything is fair game when she composes a painting, and says she “beams them in” from some other place, from some other story or scene.

“My intention is to create delight and intrigue.”

Critic Donald Kuspit calls Haden an “eloquent” painter and a realist of sorts. “I say ‘of sorts’ because there’s an aura of eeriness to her reality, however precisely (always precisely) rendered—but her images are also abstract, which no doubt adds to their uncanniness.” Kuspit is the distinguished professor of art history and philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and professor of art history at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.

Earth, sky and water dominate her vast, open landscapes that are populated with evocative figures and objects from contemporary culture—a young girl riding a rubber ball as peacocks strut nearby, children around a campfire as white horses frolic in the distance, a child on a beach with an elaborate sand castle, or a boy with lizards beside a swimming pool.

Haden studied art and art history as an undergraduate at Georgetown University and earned a master’s degree in art history from George Washington University. Both schools are in the District of Columbia.


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