The inaugural exhibition in the gallery’s new garment district location brings together a body of work underpinned by psychological restlessness. Using found imagery, each artist employs the contour and the fold to transform the sedate into something active. The fold gives a form its shape, but it is so thin that it disappears when flattened. The fold separates what you can see from what you cannot. In this way the exhibition functions like a room in which the objects come to life when you turn your back on them, which suddenly freeze in place when they know they can be seen.
No wind sings in the trees outside of Jennifer Lee’s window paintings. Their silence is more troubling than would be the steady rhythmic tick of the venetian blinds waving. Instead the blinds hang as motionless as the air outside, welded fleshily to the sill. Just as we’re compelled to whip back the shower curtain to show that no scaley prowler is hiding behind it, what’s obscured in Lee’s work is more unnerving for what could be hidden behind it than whatever we would have to do were we face-to-face with what was.
Appearing at first as inert as the vintage paper still-lives from which they’re rendered, the leaves in Kara Joslyn’s paintings bristle in a scintillating moonlight of acrylic and automotive paint. Their reflective surfaces play tricks on the eye, causing one to see something skitter out of the periphery. Their negative space reveals faces ruefully sniggering into the darkness. As we move between her pieces, the frame zooms in and rotates, sending the faces hidden amongst the grass caterwauling into a shower of chittering and whispers.
The scale-shift that occurs in Joslyn’s work, is part of what makes Gabriel Slavitt’s floor piece so disarming. At first comforting and recognizable, closer inspection gives way to a churning surface texture of a mangled cartoon figure seconds from reanimation. If this violence weren’t enough- enough to be reflected as if in a handheld mirror in Lee’s Rasta Fold on view- it’s writ large. It’s larger than one would expect and larger than what’s safe. Who’s to say what a 10-foot canine that walks on its hind legs is going to do after being hit by a runaway piano. Who knows what those teeth can do?
Folded Canopy examines the macabre that rides the coattails of the fantastic and the surreal. It asks whether we might intentionally bake fear into fantasy to keep from getting in too deep, from being convinced that if we run over the cliff’s edge we’ll have time to turn back before we drop.