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Indoor Voices


August 26th – November 30th , 2019

Reception Thursday October 10th, 2019 / 5:30-8pm

Curated by Kirstin Lamb


The Yard, Williamsburg

33 Nassau Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11222


Kirstin Lamb Curatorial and The Yard, Williamsburg are pleased to present a group show featuring artists examining indoor spaces and the contemplative domestic objects and emotions laid within them.  Our opening reception is to be held in October, to coincide with the season’s change and our turning toward the indoors, but the show shall be open and available to see starting in late August.


Indoor is defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary as “of or related to the interior of a building” and also “living, located or carried within a building.”   So to understand indoor is to understand the definition of interior, defined in a range of ways as both a noun and verb including “a representation of the interior of a building”, “the internal or inner part of the thing,” “belonging to the inner constitution or concealed nature of something,” and “inner or spiritual nature.”  Indoor and interior imply inside, but that inside could be emotional, bodily, as well as structural. Inside feelings, objects contained by a building, and our inner desires as reflected around us - when imaging and imagining the indoor we look to our most intimate domestic spaces, those close at hand every day.


Each artist in this show depicts interiors to reveal her broader inner and domestic condition as a painter.  Some representations are imagined, celebrations of a riotous domesticity winning out over basic humdrum life, as in the work of Laura Williams with her Liberty pattern-clad walls and salon style bedrooms chronicling world travel in the most intimate of spaces.  Williams utilizes the a painstakingly drawn iconic Liberty pattern as a backdrop for images sourced from travel to the US from her native New Zealand, as well as a way to unite the more universal markers of everyday life.  Her pictures buzz with effervescent energy and a kind of claustrophobic unity, a surprising décor coup.


Polly Shindler utilizes a similarly bright palette and imaginative space with a minimal and sometimes modernist interior.  Though unpopulated with figures, Shindler’s spaces feel livable, and in many ways aspirational, as if she is designing for her ideal self or ideal feeling of self.  Her most recent paintings re-image galleries of Rothko pictures or broad landscape vistas with Eames chairs and simple dining sets within a broad airy décor.  Shindler’s spaces harness desire for objects, places, feelings, while sitting disarmingly comfortably in contemplative philosophical still life.


Painter Melanie Parke had a strong emotional response to the title phrase Indoor Voices when I sent her the invitation to show, noting that that phrase recalled moments of silencing or removal from inside spaces as a child.  Her painted works have an effusive and lustrous positivity, a kind of life-giving indoor voice to contrast or support that younger haunted voice.  Tendrils of sweeping brights lilt past a dish of grapes supported by gracefully simply rendered porcelain figurines, the pictures reflect the warmth of the domestic interior she currently lives and shares as an artist. 


Erika Hess stages still life pictures in a manner that implies the indoor space of the studio, similarly crafting the space she wishes to see, with its ethics and aesthetics broadly represented.  Erika can create a whole room with a pinned postcard or handkerchief on a wall, each picture having much to do with the manner in which she devotionally paints the white wall as subject, though each is lusciously tended to and represented.  Hess asserts the room’s character as much as the object.  For her that room, the studio, is the indoor space to reckon with, to decorate and politicize.


Claire Cushman’s work is driven by her own experience of space, as well as an imaginative and aspirational dream of domestic space not her own.  Cushman renders her own home spaces in New York and Maine with the same hand and details as catalog images, titling them with similarly familiar names, as if they were all family spaces, known to her circle. The broad and loose brush strokes she uses create a kind of elegant gauzy haze through which we can join in her painter’s reverie, both observed and imagined. 


Vena Gu makes her limited palette sing with a quiet urgency, as if the walls of her Providence apartment could not contain her.  Vena travels by hardcover, frequently re-imaging picture books to voyage with a crisp economy of oil strokes throughout art history and the world.  Vena frequently re-images images within spaces, as if insisting that the interior and the frame hold multitudes and multiple spaces or ideas within one.

To travel to visit Vena in her studio, her home, is to see the paintings enfleshed, housed in the space where they were made.  It is a remarkable unmasking.  I prefer the fiction of her pictures and pictures of pictures to the actual place, her touch as she paints her stove, textbook or curtain glows when compared with the actual, paler and mundane, useful space. 


Jordan Buschur renders the book or books as a kind of sculpture or installation in an interior.  She prefers to deal with the book itself as an object to be stacked, mostly left unopened, its possibilities yet unexplored and mysterious.  She frequently stages the books in interiors dark and full of depth but with spotlit drama.  Mirrors reflect carefully balanced tomes, ready to be reorganized, pulled or toppled.  She favors a light pink-red glow which adds to a kind of surreal haunted space, the book as an actor, a stand in for the figure’s pull and its psychic drama.  An unopened book feels a prod to action and a reflexive push away from text, the painter is an author leaning on but not falling under the weight of words.


These works are a gathering of voices, quietly asserting a sense of place, a mood, a time.  To contain a feeling in a room, to re-present that feeling in a painting, an image, is a challenge taken on by each of these painters with elegance and electricity.  Please join us for our artist reception in October, to celebrate these remarkable images and their makers as we all move indoors with the change of season.


Hours for the Yard, Williamsburg

Monday-Friday 9:30am – 4:30pm

And by appointment with:

Kirstin Lamb Curatorial

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