Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you're alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.
― Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
Doldrums are a nautical term for a region in the Atlantic Ocean, near the earth’s equator, known to becalm sailing ships for weeks, with hot, muggy air weighing upon their crew - a velveteen spell holding them captive. This supernatural moment of pause is where we find this exhibition. Between the three artists we find a hypnagogic narrative. Surreal in nature, similar forms and shapes traverse the works. A new world exists and we find ourselves in an altered state of the Doldrums.
A female figure appears in a tapestry by Oona Brangam-Snell, redrawn and recolored, six times. In the act of being reconsidered, her proportions and expression change imperceptibly, lending the piece both an unsettling uniformity and a breath of life. Each figure is isolated under a single archway, peering out cautiously in a resigned and funereal pose. Outside of their tomblike fortress, animated plants and abstract animal figures come together to animate the homogenous scene. Her braid descends and tangles with another version of herself -- a fairytale nod to Rapunzel, perhaps.
In Emily Ludwig Shaffer’s painting Friends and Family, a twisting and weaving plait hovers in space, burgeoning from a female form, as if the hot air of the tropics have provided it with a weightless buoyancy, before it’s heft was recognized, landing hard overhead. She is accompanied by a companion with a swell in her belly. They march from a hedge abutting a bright and warm Escher-esque dwelling, though their surroundings are dimly mysterious. These figures are unafraid and at home in this space, their arms folded across their chests, strong and ready. A pair of fanciful roses accompany this painting. Painted on paper, their petals crisply blossom, cradled in the grasp of farinaceous fingers.
Mike Goodlett’s biomorphic creatures lurk around these female forms. Though sexual and soft, they are created from heavy hydro-stone. These beings are extraterrestrially humanoid, their forms familiar with colors near an almost natural flesh tone. They subliminally reside in the doldrums, or perhaps they are the doldrums incarnate. We are haunted by them in this state.
As the viewer peers into the space, the eerie, corporeal quality of the subjects and work-in-play create an overgrown atmosphere of sultry arcane lushness that beckons all who enter to step through the veil.
The exhibition will be on view from June 22 - August 2, 2019. For available works, press inquiries, and additional information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oona Brangam-Snell (b. 1989, USA) is a New York based textile artist whose work highlights the enduring power of traditional symbols and the emerging power of contemporary iconography, in an era defined by the digitization of fabric production. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI), Brangam-Snell is influenced by centuries of textile production, from medieval tapestries to theater curtains. She works as a senior designer for the textile firm Maharam.
Mike Goodlett (b. 1958, Lexington, Kentucky) lives and works in the house in which he grew up just outside Wilmore, KY. He received a BFA Degree from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1983 and has had solo exhibitions at the John Michael Kohler Art Center (Sheboygan, Wisconsin), Galerie Christian Berst (New York, NY), Institute 193 (Lexington, KY) and Tops Gallery (Memphis, TN). His work was recently featured in the 2019 Atlanta Biennial, hosted by the Atlanta Contemporary.
Emily Ludwig Shaffer (b. 1988, San Francisco, CA) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI) in 2010 and her MFA from Columbia University in 2017. Recent solo exhibitions have been presented at Institute 193 (Lexington, KY) and Galerie Pact (Paris, France). Group exhibitions include Helena Anrather, Marinaro, The Jewish Museum (New York, NY), False Flag (Queens, NY), L’Inconnue (Montréal, Canada), Unclebrother (Hancock, NY), Gildar Gallery (Denver, CO) and Ellis King (Dublin, IE). Her work has been featured in Whitehot Magazine, Zing, Artspace and Le Quotidien de L’Art.