Sara Berman and Alison Lousada
This show was the first show unable to be viewed at GALLERY46 due to the Covid-19 pandemic
[scene unscene] is a conversation around ceremony and space, depth and domesticity? Presented like an exploration akin to an archeological dig, this show featuring new paintings, weavings, and transformed archival undergarments by Berman, and editions of enigmatic volcanic vessels by Lousada.
Like an excavation from which the scholars must extrapolate usage, the work is set out like evidence for the viewer to inspect, introspect, intuit. Ownership and meaning, these poured, manipulated, tenderized objects and paintings, vessels and weavings, garments transformed, require close attention. Unearthed, uncovered, revealed, flaunted; the gaze travels and traps.
Meaning is thrown from the fabric of a past, distant yet distilled: memory of a form; memory of a function; memory of an evocation of a feeling of the feminine. They play in a new scene now, a new kind of seen, transported and transformed by their movement. And in the manner of all displaced objects, they are replaced, redrawn, reinvented by the artist, the viewer, and the space.
Berman’s painted figures are in position, occupying their frame, connected with each other, ready for action. Carefully casual, deceptively withdrawn, waiting for their underestimation, knowing in advance that it is coming, drinking it in, and throwing it back onto the viewer.
Weavings mix finesse and fury, spilling their beads like eggs, lie in wait for you, dare you to see them, dare you to think it, will not tell you. Sweaters formed from the lint of bodily detritus, undergarments stand stiff – disarmed, mute. Silence, bustle, frozen, brazen. An air of ritual to their texture, they witness archaeology of the body, the mind, the eye, the I.
Lousada’s clay vessels, poured, painted, fired, and cracked, occupy and harbor space by the glowering intensity of their presence. These are fragments of a life, of a time, of a form, of a function, the scene set anew. The gaze, the glaze, volumes created, volumes spoken. Volcanic disruption; pregnant pause. Lousada’s vessels hollow out the domestic and render it exterior, divorcing form and function, refusing to obfuscate any of the mess, any of the disruption such a liberation may and inevitably does cause, unabashed, bellied and proud of their flaws, worn as battle scars, prizes of their existence.
The works bring questions and answers deeply embedded in materiality.
Clays, fabrics, fibers, paint, smooth, rough, tender, the work presents its process proudly, jogging memories, invoking imagined pasts, witness to work, craft, skill, minutiae, reliability: the feminine unseen. The rough textures, the bold looks, the emptiness and aimlessness of vessels jostling for position, crushing in their delicacy.