The boys and girls in Melora Kuhn's canvases have always inhabited an alternate reality, and the artist takes these mystical intonations further with her new exhibition of paintings, The Torriento Troupe. As they rein in natural elements, whether levitating, handling fire, or walking on water, her figures become supernatural, blurring the line between deity and freak. Their cool confidence projects a maturity beyond their pre-pubescent years, and also alludes to historical childhood portraits, from the Renaissance to early American folk art. The carnival-like atmosphere of her fictional "Torriento Troupe" conjures turn of the 20th century nostalgia, as well.

Kuhn is drawn to childhood as a time of possibility, before one learns to edit him or herself according to societal conventions. As her figures harness their powers, they embody the idea of realizing one's potential. However, isolation can accompany empowerment, and her figures generally stand alone, at times as if on a sideshow pedestal.

This exhibition is the follow-up to Kuhn's successful New York solo debut at ZieherSmith in the fall of 2003. Her work was also featured in C and M Arts's 2004 Back to Paint, among other national and international exhibitions. A Boston native, Kuhn recently relocated to Brooklyn, New York.