SAN FRANCISCO — February 08, 2016 — Chandran Gallery is pleased to present Witch-Wife, a monumental exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist Swoon and Oakland-based artist, Monica Canilao transforming the gallery into a dreamscape environment. Through intricate paper cut-outs, installation boxes, and mix-media assemblages, the artists focuses a contemporary lens on archaic practices of introspection. Both artists will present new collections as well as unveil a site-specific installation on the gallery’s ground floor. The exhibition will be on view February 19 to April 01, 2016 with an opening reception on Friday, February 19 from 7-9:30pm.
Swoon’s work is often a reflection of contemporary and historical events. For Witch-Wife, the artist turns her attention to the act of self-reflection and interpreting one’s own feelings. She explores the idea that antiquated practices of introspection may offer more genuine revelations of self-discovery in our modern times. To a large extent, Swoon references the old-world practice of analyzing dreams and the hazy imagery conjured from one’s subconscious. These sentiments are embodied through deeply personal portraits - a mother nursing her baby, children encountered through travels, a fetus in utero and a women with an ornate heart glowing through her chest. The dreamlike and subliminal qualities are further enhanced by delicate layering of fragmented images and symbols within each piece. Her signature paper portraits and installation boxes are composed of myriad materials including: block print, paper cut-outs, acrylic paint, coffee stains and found objects.
“Witch-Wife”, the bygone term for a woman that practices witchcraft, is a light-hearted reference to herself and her longtime collaborator, artist Monica Canilao. Working together on the installation, they create an otherworldly panorama that centers on a sculptural haven containing dreams. These dreams were collected from Swoon’s Dream Reliquary where strangers anonymously share their stories. For the installation, the artist will experiment in creating 3D forms in-the-round, a departure from her method of layering 2D elements to create depth.
Canilao brings an intensity to the show’s theme of melding the old with the new. The artist synthesizes multi-disciplines ranging from painting to sewing, to create richly adorned pieces that evoke ceremony and ritual. She incorporates personal and treasured objects with recycled and found materials as a means to intertwine her personal experience with physical remnants of past lives. Knives, fur, bones and swaths of fabric bring a primordial and sacred sense to Canilao’s large-scale mixed-media works. The new collection expands upon the artist’s signature motifs of warriors, Native American imagery, painted birds, deconstructed environments and perennial journeys.