Astrid Styma at SETAREH / Düsseldorf

Astrid Styma / For All Flesh Is as Grass

25th JANUARY – 2nd MARCH 2024 

SETAREH
Königsallee 27–31
40212 Düsseldorf
 Courtesy the artist and SETAREH



Taking the female portrait as a primary subject, the work of Astrid Styma plunges the viewer into the emotional experiences of the body. Through a masterful handling of oil, Styma captures their physique with a realism that amplifies their conditions. Utilising Renaissance techniques for the modelling of surprisingly tactile volumes, her subjects are the every (wo)man, drawn as much from art history as the isolating gaze of the photograph. These heroines are cast in a flattened hue which is both detached and caressing, a twilight shade that captures these forms in a semi-darkness pungent with vulnerability. In her work we find a tenderness both tangibly vulnerable and pensively determined.
 In this newest series the figures are often crouched in emotional entanglements. Hunched into themselves they portray moments of deep self-reflection. Set in their domestic solitude, we encounter them engaged in the gestures of quotidian reflection. These simple actions give the artist opportunities to push her signature realism, capturing the crevices and folds of joints with corporal clarity. 
Other areas of these figures drift into near abstraction, contrasting the starkly articulated reality with moments of absence. This magical realism unfolds as an emotional atmosphere which realises the temporal quality of being lost in thought. In addition to the delicate sensitivity of the Flemish master’s use of light, Styma’s art is in the nature of Mary Cassatt. What resonates with Cassatt’s delicate scenes is an insightful champion for the honest portrayal of women, from their own experience, and a cunning ability to travel through their everyday to reach toward the universal.