Liza LaBarge

My work emerges from a conjunction of realism with surrealism, presenting overly dramatized theatrical scenes. These large-scale charcoal drawings are highly influenced by the Freudian uncanny, where the familiar and foreign converge. Each piece strives to create a unique environment for the audience, where cognitive dissonance is enhanced through the paradoxical flux between attraction and intimidation. The work offers a glimpse into ambiguous narratives of femininity, which positions the audience as voyeur.


This series is stylistically influenced by Caravaggio and Artemisia Gentileschi. The aesthetics of detailed rendering and dramatic lighting combine with the engaging gaze of the figures to draw the viewer close, while the disturbing subject matter and surreal juxtaposition of imagery, create a sense of unease. By formulating ideas derived from imagery commonly used throughout art history, my recent work appropriates Classical religious and mythological compositions in order to create contemporary allegories that emphasize the female figure. Each piece focuses on a different issue surrounding womanhood that I believe is relevant in today’s society.  I aim to raise questions regarding psycho-social power dynamics, cult mentality, domesticity, and reproduction. I am interested in how the image of the woman’s body can be presented as both abject and object: simultaneously signifying male fear and desire. Laura Mulvey states, “the look, often pleasurable in form, can be threatening in content, and it is woman as representation/image that crystallizes this paradox.” I present the woman as simultaneously submissive and domineering in order to subvert the dichotomous cliché representation of woman as virgin/whore or angel/devil. I hope to engender new compelling ways of looking and new subversive ways of seeing the female figure.Annunciationbees close-up


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