Curated by Deanna Evans
Online Exhibition - 12.15.21 - 1.18.22
Moody is a collection of works by six artists based in New York: Tess Bilhartz, Saskia Fleishman, Alison Kudlow, Emilia Olsen, Krista Louise Smith, and Elise Thompson. Each work conveys a spiritual and emotional atmosphere — in other words, a mood. Using a variety of formal strategies and material choices, including color, scale, personal artifacts, and mythological allusion, these artists pursue objects that make us feel things; this is art that transfers its palpable moods to us as we view it.
Tess Bilhartz is interested in stories, both mythic and personal. In the last two years, she has worked to tell these stories primarily with paper and colored pencils, an adaptable medium that lends itself easily to different shapes and scales. Similar to the television series True Blood, or a film like The Witch, where the American landscape nurtures the fantasies and horrors of Western mythology, she sets her work in a natural world where drama and hallucination feel rooted in the bones of the place.
Saskia Fleishman paints abstracted landscapes generated from photographs in her family's archives and taken around the world. The pieces form a space to contemplate points in our past, perception, conditioning, and our relationship to the life cycles of the landscapes we inhabit and pass through.
Alison Kudlow transforms ephemeral events into tangible objects. She embodies unseen forces in material to slow time and expand a moment. She listens to her materials, asking them to show her how they want to move. She views the kiln as a condensed model of geological time. The appearance of her pieces reflects the temperatures reached by the kiln, how long they were at each temperature, and in which order. Her sculptural manipulations of time reflect a stubborn refusal to accept impermanence and loss.
Emilia Olsen’s work revolves around her experiences coping with depression and anxiety. Inspired by Frank O’Hara, Maggie Nelson, and Ross Gay, and others, Olsen thinks of her paintings as poems. They often deal with grief and serve as vignettes of painful moments she nevertheless wants to remember.
Krista Louise Smith’s work circles around desire and fear. Oscillating between paint and clay, Smith invents scenarios where paintings and ceramics (often shown together) expand a broader framework of expression. Colors tie the mediums together in a harmonious world of pale pastels where tight tonal shifts contribute to the softness in both the paintings and the sculptures. In recent works, she explores themes of escapism, loss and dreams through playful paintings of semi-abstract clouds and skies and an army of small-scale ceramic teeth or abstracted jawbones.
Elise Thompson uses sheer surfaces and layered elements to explore the physical and metaphorical complexities of transparency. Through varying degrees of obscured visibility, these works show surface restraint by emphasizing the frame and the details beneath. Many attributes can be withheld or disguised through frost, censored effects, or outright obstruction when deciphering what is beneath.