Evanescent Splendor: Miss Van @ Harman Projects, NYC
When street art began to explode in the early years of the 2000s, many of the works, let’s be honest, were lacking in femininity and or even sensuality. Even if it did feel like a boys club of sorts, there were female artists who approached the scene and concrete playground with refreshing ideas. Far removed from her street art days, Miss Van, the Toulouse, France-born painter, is, nevertheless, a pioneer on the streets and in the gallery. She is an incredibly gifted painter who started on the streets and treated those walls as a fine art canvas with a flair for the fresh. Her studio work was also original with female characters, whose burlesque attributes and sultry poses reflected the greats of pop surrealism.
No wonder she continues to be such a pivotal if not under-appreciated influencer of the last 25 years. With a return to NYC and showing at the newly opened Harman Projects of the Hashimoto Contemporary and Spoke Art family, Miss Van charts the path she has traversed in both genres, carrying the torch of bold sexuality in the realm of Moulin Rouge meets French surrealism, transforming that mood to both street and studio. And her focus on hair keeps billowing. The new works feature hairstyles morphing over her characters' bodies, wielding a mysterious power that becomes a focal point of the exhibition. Dreamlike, masked, and etched in erotica, Miss Van continues to inspire in delicious mystery, caressing her beloved tropes and genres. A welcome return to NYC, indeed. —Evan Pricco