Em Rooney 21 September 2018 - 21 October 2018
“Figure in a Landscape” is a painting by Francis Bacon that interprets a photograph of his lover, Eric Hall, dozing on a seat in Hyde Park, London. The artist depicts a disfigured, abstracted, partly over-painted man, lying across a park bench. With a blue sky and flowers drained of color in a murky, somber landscape, it seems, forebodingly, to be at once both day and night. Painted during World War 2, the work’s banal title belies the currents of violence churning within the frame. As a Tate gallery label puts it: the painting is a “combination of aggression and everyday mundane reality.”
“Figure in a Landscape” at Foxy Production comprises works by Carlos Almaraz, Mamma Andersson, Cynthia Daignault, Hamishi Farah, Justin Fitzpatrick, and Em Rooney that capture the moment we find ourselves in, where violence is inherent in the everyday.
Carlos Almaraz’s “Stigmata Over the City,” like many of the artist’s works, pictures Los Angeles as both character and cityscape. His placement of the mystical image of a bleeding palm above the city reflects the complexity of his feelings toward Los Angeles, belief, and himself–many of his paintings have been described as “disguised selfportraits.”
Mamma Andersson’s fictive, mysterious, and unnerving painted world is distilled in “Death Mask” where she pictures an odd hybrid bird, a parakeet with the feathers of a bird of prey. This caged anomalous animal addresses the viewer with longing; its sad, dark eyes seem to yearn for connection and liberation.
In Cynthia Daignault’s twin paintings of the tombstones of a husband and wife, figure and landscape are literally united. Their headstones are gendered signs that point to the lives that the interred had lived. Daignault often paints in series, her paintings acting like film frames that together here project a meditation on the finite nature of life and how it is symbolized.
Hamishi Farah paints a white boy in a field of golden grass, a large floppy hat casting his face in shadow. The work’s swaying brushstrokes and soft focus give the bucolic scene a disorienting feel. His painting points to another painting – Dana Schutz’s “Open Casket” – for the boy Farah pictures is her son. Farah confronts the exploitation of black trauma and how, on a moral level, representation can fail.
Using text and an illustrative style reminiscent of by-gone instructional posters, Justin Fitzpatrick’s painting is an allegory about revelation and connection. With the opening of a suture, the skin is pulled back theatrically to reveal cigarettes, the over-determined signifiers of sensuality. The body is a site for a dream-like, spaces-within-spaces drama of desire and intimacy.
Em Rooney’s intricate wall-based book sculptures refer to the photographs that they also frame: masked revelers parade in the Nova Scotian landscape; an intimate, lost portrait is found in the leaves of Georges Bataille’s “Visions of Excess;” and a child reads from “The Illiad" with some of the text – about camps and death – superimposed. Rooney poetically and variously figures current tensions around violence, whether it be the state separating children from their families, or in the way queer bodies negotiate the world.
Carlos Almaraz (Mexico City, Mexico, 1941 – Los Angeles, CA, 1989). Selected exhibitions during his lifetime include: La Jolla Museum of Art, La Jolla, CA (solo)(1983); “Urban Myths: Paintings,” ARCO Center For Visual Art, Los Angeles (solo)(1982); The Mexican Museum, San Francisco, CA (solo)(1981); “Chicanarte,” Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles; and “Los Four,” Cal-State Los Angeles, Oakland Museum, SelfHelp Graphics, Los Angeles, UC Santa Barbara, Cal-State Sacramento, and L.A. County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, UC Irvine (both 1977); and Mechicano Art Gallery, East Los Angeles (solo)(1972). Recent exhibitions include: “Playing with Fire: Paintings by Carlos Almaraz,” Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (solo); and “Axis Mundo – Queer Networks in Chicano L.A.” MOCA Los Angeles (both 2017).
Mamma Andersson (Luleå, Sweden,1962) lives and works in Stockholm. Recent solo exhibitions include: “Tick Tock,” Konsthallen, Luleå, Sweden (2013); “Dog Days,” Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld, Germany (2012); Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, USA (2010); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland (2009); Moderna Museet, Stockholm, travelled to the Kunsthalle Helsinki and the Camden Arts Centre, London (2007). Her work was represented in the Nordic Pavilion at the 50th Venice Biennale (2003).
Cynthia Daignault (Baltimore, MD, 1978) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Solo exhibitions include: “There is nothing I could say that I haven’t thought before,” FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY; “The Pure Products of America Go Crazy.” CAPITAL, San Francisco, CA; “Light Atlas,” Herron Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN; “Cynthia Daignault,” Sunday Painter, London, UK (all 2017); “Cynthia Daignault,” Stems Gallery, Brussels, Belgium; Light Atlas, Lisa Cooley, New York (both 2015); and “Gallery and Bulletin Board,” White Columns, New York (2011). Group exhibitions include: “The Lure Of The Dark: Contemporary Painters Conjure The Night,” MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; ’Blue State,” Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (both 2018); and “American Genre,” ICA at MECA, Portland, ME (2017).
Hamishi Farah (Melbourne, Australia, 1991) lives and works in Melbourne. Selected exhibitions include: “Noise! Frans Hals, Otherwise,” Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands; “GWTW,” Martos Gallery, New York (both 2018); “White ppl think im radical,” with Aria Dean, Arcadia Missa, London, UK; “New Black Portraitures,” Rhizome.org (online); “At this stage,” Château Shatto, Los Angeles (all 2017); “Hamishi (retirement),” Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne (solo); “Missed Connections,” Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf; and “Painting. More Painting,” Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (both 2006).
Justin Fitzpatrick (Dublin, Ireland, 1985) lives and works in London and Brussels. Solo exhibitions include: “Justin Fitzpatrick,” Foxy Production, New York (2019) (forthcoming); “Underworld,” KevinSpace, Vienna“Uranus,” Sultana, Paris; “F-R-O-N-T-I-S-P-I-E-C-E,” Seventeen, London (both 2017). Recent group exhibitions include: “Whisky et Tabou,” Musée Estrine, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France (2017); “Amazing girls / It’s complicated,” Kevinspace, Vienna, (2017); “Streams of Warm Impermanence,” DRAF, London (2016); “Animal Mundi,” Barbican Arts Trust, London (2016); “Life is On,” Jakob Kroon Galerie, Stockholm (2016); “Caput Medusae,” Westminster Waste, London (2016); and “Bloomberg New Contemporaries,” ICA, London (2015).
Em Rooney (Bridgeport, CT, 1983) lives and works in New York. Solo exhibitions include: “Ordinary Time,” Bodega, New York, NY (2018); “Inﬁnite Iotic,l Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, OH (2016); “Night Painting,” Beverly’s, New York, NY (2014); “Flesh and Ground,” The Good Press Gallery, Glasgow, Scotland, UK (2013 ); and “All Alone,” Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA (2011). Group exhibitions include: “Being: New Photography,” The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2018); “Webutuck Vuitton,” curated by Carlos Reyes, The Re-Institute, Millerton, NY; and “redirecting,” Simone Subal, New York, NY (both 2017).
Installation photography: Charles Benton.