Glass Rice is proud to present Dreaming As the Summers Die, a solo exhibition of new and old paintings and prints by Zoe Hawk. Hawk delves into the world of female adolescence, depicting groups of girls dressed in uniform, as candy stripers, schoolgirls, or girl scouts, within carefully constructed scenes: at school, in the home, or out in nature. Initially, these controlled settings seem sweet, naive and nostalgic, yet upon closer inspection, these once innocent scenes take on a mysterious and unsettling turn. Austere shrouded figures, perhaps their mothers, caretakers, or teachers, watch the girls from the perimeter, what once seemed like playful scenes become rebellious, and zealous behavior takes on a dark and cultish nature.
Themes of gendered socialization, anxiety, group dynamics, and performance are tackled within scenes of girlhood play and interactions, often stylistically referencing children’s storybook illustrations. Hawk’s work investigates the complex experience of coming of age. The costumes, colorful dresses, mournful funeral attire, and identical uniforms signify various modes of feminine identity, and set the stage for the girls’ interactions. The girls dwell in what look like peaceful worlds, yet are confronted by the suffocating pressures of conforming to idealized versions of femininity, and the difficulties that come with navigating the realm of youth into womanhood; a reflection of Hawk’s own realizations as a young girl. An intricate play of yearning, contention, camaraderie, and mischief develops between these characters as they navigate their own little worlds—somewhere between childhood and adulthood, between fairy tales and the dark realities of womanhood.