BEGIN:VCALENDAR VERSION:2.0 PRODID:icalendar-ruby CALSCALE:GREGORIAN BEGIN:VEVENT DTSTAMP:20170523T192737Z UID:266752 DTSTART:20130314T000000 DTEND:20130421T000000 DESCRIPTION:
Anna Conway's recent paintings pose a number of questions: a
re we able to\, by acting on our environments\, change ourselves? Can our l
abor and attention to the spaces around us really protect us from feelings
of alienation\, ugliness and banality? Or can they only provide an illusion
of control\, a balm\, a suspension of disbelief? Conway shows us the momen
ts in which our best efforts falter briefly\, her subjects trapped in betwe
en the quotidian\, the existential and the spiritual: a young custodian\, d
eep in thought\, pauses while arranging flowers on a decorative ledge in a
mega church\; a terrified American executive peers out the window of his co
ndo at the plume of smoke rising over a desert city\; a docent spends his g
olden years waiting for visitors with whom to share his knowledge of life i
n colonial America\, uncertain that anyone will turn up.
All t hese figures are delicately rendered but the empathy we feel for them is as much a function of their settings as it is about their actions\, inaction or appearance. Conway\, above all else\, is sensitive to psychology and the minutiae of space\, taste and decor-to interior and exterior worlds-upon w hich she layers personification and pathetic fallacy: the church's restrain ed institutional palette is marred only by the ostentation of a small water fall set into the pulpit\, a vague promise of material comfort to match the transcendental\; the sterility of the condo\, an extended stay furnished s uite\, is seen against the blinding sun that glares through floor to-ceilin g windows and the overstuffed couches heaped with dirty dishes and laundry.
In two other paintings only the inanimate traces of human amb itions have been left behind to relate the story: a rough patch\, revealing wires and cables\, has been cut out of a mural depicting the folk art moti f of the biblical 'peaceable kingdom\,' in which the lion\, the lamb and th e rest of the animal world coexist harmoniously and in a bathroom decorated by another mural\, a yellow sticky note has been left on the mirror as a r eminder that 'it's not going to happen like that'. The visceral sense of ab sence in these paintings encourages self-reflection on the part of the view er: through the anonymity of thought\, we enter these pregnant voids\, for a moment filling their emptiness and perhaps experiencing in a small way th e sense of expectation that quietly weighs on the occupants of the other wo rks.
The events in all these paintings illuminate the post-it axiom\; namely\, that while we try to control our environment and manage al l the many things beyond ourselves\, the results of our efforts may land us anywhere on the scale between comedy and tragedy but they're never what we expect. Conway's methodical approach to painting further instantiates this idea: all the perfectly rendered details add up to something that is more than\, but uncannily other than\, the sum of their parts. One imagines anot her painting\, absent from the show\, depicting another note in the same ho use: 'its not going to happen like that\, either.'
Anna Conway lives and works in New York\, having received her BFA from Cooper Union an d her MFA from Columbia University. Group and solo exhibitions include: Gui ld and Greyshkul\, NY\; Mitchell\, Innes and Nash\, NY\; The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art\, Kansas City and Galerie Rodolphe Janssen\, Brussels. Her work has been published in numerous journals including\, Art in America \, Artforum\, Modern Painters\, Art Review and The New Yorker. This is her first exhibition with the gallery.