By Lorraine Link
The air crackles with nervous energy this month inside Empire of America in
Deland, for on display, much larger than life, is Kristin H. Eyfells’
“Ladies Anonymous,” an exhibition of facial close-ups unlike any you have
Saturated with character and seductiveness, the “Ladies Anonymous” beckon
from canvases that seem barely able to contain them.
Rather a self-styled eccentric in that oh-so-traditional world of
portraiture, Eyfells presents incisive portrayals, the intimate ferocity of
emotions encased in rainbow-rich colors. Following the initial impact, which
is bound to halt anyone entering the bank, we become aware of a moment
These faces are both masked and bared to the soul. There is a
frankness here, an openness, and yet a posturing that could cover anger,
fear or loneliness, like the madness that sometimes hides behind good
manners. They pose and watch simultaneously, a characteristic that may
become unnerving to some who recognize more than they care to.
These seven females, caught in moments when thoughts surface and color
explodes, leave the subject revealed without sentimentality. Eyfells catches
them and they cannot escape her psychological astuteness – she holds a
degree in psychology as well as art – which she translates into light,
shadow, lines, vibrant blues, fiery oranges, and intense greens.
Kristin Halldorsdottir Eyfells, who lived most of her life in
her native Iceland, arrived at this point in her career through a circuitous
route that included many years as a highly successful international fashion
designer and recognized sculptor. While she has been painting and exhibiting
her “faces” for more than a decade, here earlier works had a heaviness that
has been shed through the years. Light creeps into her new work to dance
with the colors, and a certain refined simplicity underscores the careful
and masterful execution.
The openness implied in Kristin’s “Ladies Anonymous” contrasts
with anonymity. Unlike her paintings of personalities we would recognize –
which include Audrey Hepburn, Lillian Hellman and Ronald Reagan – these
paintings stand forth alone, representative of a certain cultural heroine,
untouchable and unattainable, and yet one who seems close, near, and vaguely
familiar. They are perhaps the women we see in the magazines or on
television, the ones we would like to know, the ones who seem to have it all
– if only they were here, in only they were real.
Anonymous,” the first public exhibition of these masterful works, is
provided by Empire of America in Deland, as part of its on-going commitment
to bring high-impact original art to central Florida.