This Sacred Vessel (pt.2)
Arsenal Contemporary Art New York is pleased to present This Sacred Vessel (pt. 2). After exploring how the relevance of landscape painting is informed by ecological anxiety in This Sacred Vessel (pt. 1), this new iteration turns to the long-established heritage of figurative painting. In a society where images of bodies are pervasive, the nine artists gathered in this exhibition toy with the codes of the canonical genre to present gender-bending, culturally ambiguous, tragicomic figures that disturb the normalizing standards that proliferate in popular culture. Under their skilled brushstrokes, these artists reconfigure the body as symbolic sites.
Shelley Adler’s paintings are recognizable by their serene atmosphere. The artist’s models dominate the pictorial plane with poised eminence. In turn, Kim Dorland’s self portraits are defined by the fervor of his paint application. The thick relief of the surface creates an anxiety-induced depiction that inspire a visceral response. Through an equally rich palette of colors, Eliza Griffiths transports the viewer into bright dreamlike universes in which droll communities interact with depth, drama and earnestness. There is a comparable surreal playfulness in Marion Wagschal’s paintings: a work inspired by chimera rather than reality. Fantasy is also the subject of Sarah Letovsky who depicts women in moments of reverie. Her work implies spaces far beyond the pictorial plane — ones only accessible through the minds of her subjects.
Humour is present in both the work of Walter Scott and Bambou Gili. Drawn by the tradition of comic books, Scott’s drawings take from his experience and from fiction to construct subversive narratives that poke fun at the pomposity of the art world. Moments of trepidation and relaxation in which the figures confront the voyeuristic gaze of the viewer enliven Gili’s cerulean tableaux. One way to depict the over consumption of images in our society is to turn to issues of privacy. Werner leverages this awareness via paintings that depict gentle body parts of female bodies. Nadia Waheed uses Eastern iconography as a way to address issues of intimacy and identity in paintings that have a subtle dynamism.
Shelley Adler (b. 1961 in Edmonton, AB lives and works in Toronto, ON). Her work has been exhibited at Metivier Gallery (Toronto), Jochen Hempel (Berlin), at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto).
Kim Dorland (b. 1974 in Wainwright, AB, lives and works in Toronto, ON). Notable exhibitions include Terror Management at Beers (London), Get Out at Antoine Ertaskiran (Montreal) and Kim Dorland: Everyday Monsters at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.
Bambou Gili (b. 1996 in New York, lives and works in New York). Her work has been shown at NYU Curatorial (New York) and Wallplay (New York).
Eliza Griffiths (b. 1965 in London, England, lives and works in Montreal, QC). Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions at Mercer Union (Toronto), The Painting Center (New York), Hallways Contemporary Arts Centre (Buffalo), ARCO Madrid, the Saidye Bronfman Centre (Montreal) and Platform Gallery (London).
Sarah Letovsky (b. 1987 in Toronto, ON, lives and works in Toronto) She was exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Patel Gallery (Toronto) and Casey House (Toronto).
Walter Scott (b. 1985 in Toronto, ON lives and works in Toronto). He has exhibited his work in solo exhibitions at Cooper Cole (Toronto), I.S.C.P (Brooklyn), Remai Modern (Saskatoon) and Plug In ICA (Winnipeg).
Marion Wagschal (b. 1943 in Port-au-Spain, Trinidad, lives and works in Montreal, QC). Major exhibitions include Marion Wagschal at the Musée d’art de Joliette, L’éclatement des frontières, 1965-2000 at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and Art and Feminism at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2014-2015, her work was the subject of a retrospective exhibition presented at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Nadia Waheed (b. 1992 in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia, lives and works in Austin, TX). Notable exhibitions include For the Few and the Many at Beers (London) and See Me Where I Am at Museum of Human Achievement (Austin), Hear me Out at ARC Victoria (Melbourne).
Janet Werner (b. 1959 in Winnipeg, MB, lives and works in Montreal). This year, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art opened a retrospective exhibition of her work. Her work has been shown at MASS MoCA (North Adams), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto) and Plug In ICA (Winnipeg).
This Scared Vessel (pt2) Image credit : Bambou Gili, Ophelia in the Tub, 2019, Oil on linen, 52″ x 72″