Portraits and Ropes
Carter & Citizen is proud to present April Street: Portraits and Ropes, the artist's first solo exhibition with the gallery.
The paintings included in Portraits and Ropes are a fictional familial construct that overlap, rebel against, and conform to their relatives and their imagined lovers through body language, compositions of movement, and color deposits that create a "generational aesthetic". The gravitational configurations evoke ideas of skin and duration, posturing and adaptation, packaging and labor, as well as action paintings' relationship to feminism. Street's palette is plucked from fantasy art and impressionist landscapes combined with skin mimicking textiles as the paintings drape and extend onto the walls of the gallery via corsage pins and copper tacks. Some paintings within the exhibition are spun into ropes ending in cast bronze knots where they meet the wall, These spun paintings act as strands of DNA that would unravel without the weight of their fixtures.
The paintings begin with a performative act we are not allowed to witness, wherein the artist wraps herself in hosiery materials to enact a series of body positions (recorded while sleeping) into pools of paint on canvas. The impression made by this act is rinsed away while the paint is still wet, where then the memory of the gesture is painstakingly repainted by the artist. The result is the intuitive stippling of her ideal fantasy of what happened in the original. Street's labor and fantasy life then create yet another fiction when it is physically covered. The hosiery, used as the brush in the beginning of the process, is now the subject in control of its own history. Hidden underneath the folds of hosiery is an image that Street only teases us with knowing fully. These veils of fabric become their sole identity inside the gallery space and outside the protective world of the studio. What begins with the artist's private performances ends with the psychological construction of public image.
The work within the exhibition addresses adaptation of an intimate activity placed in a public space. Posturing and social awkwardness, sexual identity and the hiding of labor to feed particular social longings are all tied up in the painting's reactions to each other. Street alludes to the shifting relationships between objects of action, while acknowledging the identity shifts and role-play that occur when one takes their art from private to public. This tension between object, narrative, and illusion is a constant in Portraits and Ropes. The paintings reverse and reconnect their roles in their ultimate incarnation for the gallery, as a community of gestures, packaged for their public moment.
April Street studied at The Art Institute of Chicago and in central Italy learning traditional bronze casting. She received an NEA project grant for her video collaboration, Imaging Appalachia. Her paintings were the focus of a recent solo exhibition at Rosamund Felsen Gallery in Santa Monica, CA and she was chosen by Julie Joyce, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, as one of the 13 LA Artists for the 2012 Baker's Dozen IV Exhibition at the Torrance Art Museum. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.