Just when we need them most, heroes are here to save the day. Christine Ferrouge’s show, Little Heroes, offers a spirit of hope and peace in narrative portraits of costumed kids.
For 11 years, Ferrouge has sought after positive role models and racial inclusivity for her three daughters in Oakland, California. These paintings are a glimpse into some moments of their young lives. The girls, and their friends, have an inner strength and confidence that mirrors the courageous heroes who’s costumes they wear.
Ferrouge feels it is important raise girls to be empowered, express themselves, and be responsible. In Wonder Woman Is Making My Lunch, these tiny girls cook for themselves while wearing Wonder Woman and victorian costumes. It represents a commonplace scene in the artist’s home. My Sister is Amazing, explores the relationship between two sisters trying to figure out the Lasso of Truth during a dramatic make-believe afternoon. Daddy is content being a hero in Superman is my Sidekick, but the girl’s pride shines as she thinks about her power. Super Batgirl has that same spirit that exudes strength and joy.
The artist hopes that by encouraging her girls to cross racial and cultural boundaries at a young age, they might aid in bringing others to forgiveness and peace. In Batgirl and Robin, her daughter and friend stand side by side, teaming together in strength and friendship.
In most of her paintings, these towering girls are literally larger than life. Ferrouge does not shy away from size, and insists that it is integral to the work. If her little girl characters were standing in real life, many of them would look a 6 foot viewer in the eye.
The artists’s use of color and gesture creates a strong presence and exciting paintings to view. Sometimes there are brown undertones to set depth, but all the canvases dance with lively strokes, bold gestures, and intense color. In some recent work, Ferrouge carefully uses layered oil painting and patches of raw canvas, successfully striking an interesting balance. The artist makes detailed descriptions when necessary and wild color subtly placed for accents.
This show of Little Hero paintings is special and powerful.