STORMS WITH WOMEN'S NAMES
Storms With Women’s Names is an ongoing investigation into lust and rage, and the satisfactions of both. The paintings in the exhibit—on paper, miniature hand-cut wood pieces and 12’ unstretched canvases—fall into two bodies of work, facing off; Venus and the Furies.
First of two origin myths (simplified): Primordial deity Uranus was a real asshole, so his wife Gaia and their son Chronos cut off his cock. Drops of blood from this castration fall to the skin of the Earth. Venus emerges from the salty white foam at the crest of a wave where a drop of blood hit the sea. Venus, the very embodiment of lust, is not shy about taking advantage of her sexualilty for her own pleasure and success. To save humankind from violence (and meet her insatiable needs), she literally fucks the god of war into submission. Venus deceives, but without malice.
The Venus body is an invitation, its centerpiece a joyously ludicrous birth scene based on Botticelli that replaces the goddess figure with a gargantuan disembodied vulva. The surrounding life-sized realist beachscape, on unstretched canvas adhered flatly to the wall, is a portal.
Flanking the landscape, Venusian portraits on paper draw their base imagery from goddesses of love and beauty that have been sculpted with reverence and put on pedestals. The portraits are paired with pieces of debris from the sea, which nestle into nooks in the face while floating on the surface of the paper. They settle into patterns that could be decorative, could be masks or armor, could be read as fortunes.
Additional replicas of detritus have been painstakingly, and sometimes bloodily, hand-carved from sheets of thin plywood. The wood has been primed and sanded until the surface is inert and then the illusion of life is restored. These objects are displayed throughout, accumulating over time. Interspersed with the cast offs of the sea are fragmented paintings of poisonous plants. The surfaces for the plant paintings are prepared in the same meticulous manner, but begin with the shards of wood left from cutting out the sea debris. They’re scraps, and they’re the memory of the action that produced them. Some have split along their grain during their preparation.
Second origin myth: The Furies burst forth where Uranus’s cockblood hit the soil. Their pleasure in the destruction of flesh, rather than the satisfaction of it. They protect and avenge the wronged with justice that replicates the agony of the offended, beyond the capacity of law. Through violence, the Furies reveal truth.
The Furies portraits begin with depictions of women who took violent physical revenge on men. In these paintings, there’s always at least one weak point in the composition, the trace of a potential fissure. This is where the paper is ripped, giving in to a base desire to destroy. From the ruins grow deadly plants, which hold the pieces together.
The Furies landscape revels in the pitfalls of its parts. The unstretched canvas hangs like a curtain. It serves as its own drop cloth for paint that has dripped like the blood it depicts, and footsteps grinding dirt into the gesso. The severed cock at the center melds with the surrounding clouds because, despite being an image of an exceptionally famous castration, it’s hard to find a picture with the necessary detail to paint with deceptive realism. The Furies body acknowledges that the works are ultimately not more than their materials; wood splinters, paper rips, canvas drapes.
These two bodies of work are separate, perhaps even in opposition, but are also deeply cross-contaminated. Flowers, no matter how deadly their defenses may be to man, are gaudily-decorated sex organs. The remnants that wash to shore and adorn the beach are the result of violent action. All the works are permeated by the vanity of attempting to create breathing illusions of nature and the obvious materiality of imperfect replicas.
A scientific fact, romanticized:
A storm occurs when two different pressure systems meet; conflicting forces creating a more powerful whole. The calm at the eye is either the impossibility of action when torn in two directions, or it is a comfortable vantage point for introspection.
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