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.
Recently, Ferrouge went to the easel to ask some questions about race and feminism. Raising three daughters in Oakland, California, this is a serious matter for the artist. Fortunately the paintings seem to hint at a positive answer. The girls, and their friends, have an inner strength and confidence of the courageous heroes who’s costumes they wear.
In Wonder Woman Is Making My Lunch, these confident tiny girls cook for themselves while wearing Wonder Woman and victorian costumes. The artist says it is a commonplace scene in their home. Daddy is a willing hero in these paintings also. However, the viewer can clearly see it is the little hero exuding the most confidence in Superman is my Sidekick. There have been many Saturday breakfasts, family dinners, and evening wrestling matches at the artists’s house that look like documentation of superhero’s home lives.
Batgirl and Robin is an important painting about childhood friendships shaping the future. The birthday theme was a tea party, but the birthday girl received a Batman tutu outfit inspired by her older brothers’ love of Batman. Feeling tough and strong, she beamed in her new costume. (see Super Batgirl). Batgirl and Robin depicts the artist’s hope that teaming together in strength and friendship, especially while young, will help cross racial and cultural barriers.
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 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.
Art lovers and superhero fans alike will find this show of Little Hero paintings special and powerful.