Jaclyn Brown, Holly Coulis,
Michelle Hailey, Susan Homer,
and Rebecca Litt
February 8 – March 10, 2013
fiction/non-fiction presents the work of five women artists who work with representational imagery. Jaclyn Brown, Holly Coulis, Michelle Hailey, Susan Homer and Rebecca Litt investigate the nature of reality, memory and art-making as a vehicle to understand our relationship with the physical world.
A common theme in “fiction/non-fiction” is the presence of the human figure in mysterious settings and circumstances. There are self-figures (Rebecca Litt), dream figures (Jaclyn Brown), and painted representations or portraits (Holly Coulis). Sometimes domestic artifacts evoke a human presence as in the work of Susan Homer. Architecture, mirrors and windows reflect our absence in the paintings of Michelle Hailey. Pervading all the work on exhibit is a presentiment straight from a novel by Alain Robbe-Grillet, “Did it happen this way, or this way, or at all?” Painting functions as a staged scenario or a layered onion that we are invited to peal back in search of a truer reality. In their refusal to answer the questions they pose, the artists reflect our contemporary unease in our surroundings and our search for equilibrium and meaning in the world.
Jaclyn Brown’s paintings create a world of nostalgia, satire and dreams. The artist uses patterns, repetition and glazes to weave whimsical elements into an oneiric narrative. The main character, ‘Virginia,’ was inspired by an old photo of nurses in their uniforms. The work is a response to psychoanalysis, stereotypes and judgments. Her uncanny scenes invite the viewer to provide interpretations based on a personal response to the imagery.
Holly Coulis’s latest series of paintings depict people and vases. The work plays with the history of painting and modernism–the portrait, abstraction and the still-life. These images also touch on ideas of being and death. The work has a humorous aspect, allowing the artist to combine both gravitas and cartoon in an enigmatic equilibrium.
Michelle Hailey constructs pictorial enigmas using the architecture and artifacts of daily life. The juxtapositions and spatial relationships refer to a world that exists only in the realm of the pictorial. There is a sense of deja vu as if we have encountered these images before. In her work the artist seems to suggest that we can only know the world in fragments, each of us accessing parts of it through memory, perception and our own imagination.
In her work Susan Homer gives voice to what she cannot explain in words. Through her love of pattern and material, the artist creates new stories based on old ones and imagines what she cannot know: How would it be to experience one’s house or garden when nobody is in it? How would it feel to be a robin perched on a teacup or on the branch of a flowering tree? The subjects depicted–birds, flowers, and patterns–are of personal and emotional significance to the artist and contain many levels of memories. The paintings’ absence of a horizon line and deep space reinforce the sense of a closed world created by memory, art and the imagination.
Rebecca Litt’s paintings are populated by leggy, pot-bellied women and bearded, slouching men who inhabit rooftops and partially enclosed vacant lots in a city that closely resembles Brooklyn. These paintings are an introspective, fictionalized autobiography loosely inspired by the artist’s experiences. The spaces depicted are a spatial visualization of the emotional boundaries most people construct as they navigate interpersonal relationships. Like characters in a novel, the people in her paintings unquestioningly accept absurd or unlikely situations as normal. Influenced strongly by her reading of fiction, the artist constructs her paintings to have a novelistic, artificial quality, not tied to fact and first-person perception.
Jaclyn Brown was born in 1983 in Ontario, Canada. She received a BFA from Ontario College of Art and Design (2006) and an MFA from the New York Academy of Art (2009). Her work has appeared in exhibitions at the Muriel Guepin Gallery in Brooklyn and ‘In the Boros’ at Denise Bibro Gallery, New York. Jaclyn completed a two-month residency at KW Institute in Berlin (2008). In 2010 she received an award for best emerging artist in mixed media from GLAAD OUT Auction. She lives and works in Bushwick.
Holly Coulis was born in Toronto, Canada. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She is represented by Cherry and Martin Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, and LaMontagne Gallery in Boston, MA. She has shown her work in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and Zurich.
Michelle Hailey was born in 1977. in Los Angeles. She graduated from Hunter College in 2008 with an MFA in painting. She has had a solo show at Dorsch Gallery in Miami, FL in 2009 and has been in shows at Tilton Gallery and PlaneSpace in New York and at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Susan Homer lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received a BFA in printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in painting and drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Drawing and, in 2011, received a Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Space Grant.
Rebecca Litt received an MFA in painting from Indiana University. She has exhibited in New York, New England and Louisiana. Recent notable exhibits include a solo show at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, “Land Escape” at Parallel Art Space in Brooklyn, “Life Inside and Out” at 308 at 156 Project Artspace in Manhattan and “Contemporaries” at the Ogunquit Museum of Art in Maine. From 2007-2009, she taught drawing and painting at the University of New Hampshire. She lives and works in Brooklyn.
In the project space:
Cortney Andrews constructs scenarios that give visibility to the conflicts of desire and identity as she experiences them. The staging of theatrical and erotic events allows the viewer to witness and be implicated in these internal struggles. The artist is interested in exploring the nature of boundaries between intimacy and violence, pleasure and pain, wanting and having. The female subject performs within these liminal spaces, forcing the viewer to question constructs of selfhood and otherness, lover and beloved, subject and object.
Born and raised in Kansas, Cortney Andrews received a BFA in photography and new media from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. She has exhibited in New York, London, Los Angeles, Newark and throughout the United States. Her work can be found in collections including The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and has been featured in the New York Times. In 2012 she staged a performance at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in conjunction with “In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States.” She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.