By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
"Her eyes are dead and she wears the strained smile of a woman who really wants to tell the painter to bugger off," Booker Prize–winning novelist Hilary Mantel said of the portrait when she spoke at the British Museum in February.
In that same lecture, titled "Royal Bodies," Mantel noted that "Kate seems to have been selected for her role of princess because she was irreproachable: as painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character," capable of "going from perfect bride to perfect mother, with no messy deviation." Tabloids and newspapers that don't usually care about museum lectures accused the novelist of reducing Middleton to a body.
But Mantel's point seemed to be that the No. 1 girl was so good at playing her role and not rocking the boat that it had become easy to see her as more symbol than person, a symbol with a well-tailored, stylish surface.
2640 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Category: Art Galleries
Region: West L.A.
This actually dovetails nicely with the effect of Cranston's exhibition. That green, presented in a seamlessly deadpan way with Middleton's likeness hung over it, mimics everyday sights that it's easy to take for granted.
"I see my use of color as a kind of realism of the built world," says Cranston, who has been tracking emerald in magazines and department stores and gauging its success via stock-market sales. But realism is, in this case, also absurd: How strange that, in a world this big, one color could have such reach.
The exhibition title, "Emerald City," a reference not only to the subject of a new Hollywood film but to a monochromatic, palatial place with an authoritarian ruler, when paired with the duchess's likeness suggests an almost tyrannical connectedness between these different strains of the commercial and aesthetic landscape.
Says Cranston, "Kate Middleton going to Oz — it's a poetic connection."
MEG CRANSTON: EMERALD CITY | LAXART, 2640 S. La Cienega, Culver City | Through April 20 | laxart.org