The exhibition came together following Louise Bonnet’s observation about the latent psychological tension in Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. “Don’t look at the faces,” she said. “Look at how the woman’s toes are curled.”
Gagosian is pleased to present Domestic Horror, an exhibition organized by Bill Powers. On view will be works by Natalie Ball, Louise Bonnet, Ginny Casey, Genieve Figgis, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Tanya Merrill, Cheikh Ndiaye, Rene Ricard, Pauline Shaw, Lucien Smith (with Glenn O’Brien), Vaughn Spann, and Chloe Wise. Featuring several young and emerging artists, this exhibition includes many specially commissioned works.
Addressing the darker fears that arise when we encounter the unknown, Domestic Horror probes the friction between the civilized world and baser human impulses. The word “domestic” contains a potent double meaning here, alluding to the unintended consequences that can occur—in private life and in a larger national and cultural life—where internalized anxieties meet external pressures.
Ndiaye and Spann confront the perils of political turmoil by disrupting familiar images of cultural stability: the office space of the state newspaper of Senegal, in shambles after an anti-government protest; an American flag, deconstructed and reassembled with a single ominous, looming star. Working with structures of concealment and visibility, Figgis and Juszkiewicz construct surreal, discomforting scenes of physical and societal suppression. Figgis’s ghoulish, psychedelic painting of a well-dressed family mocks the ritual of aristocratic portraiture, while Juszkiewicz parodies Louis Léopold Boilly’s Portrait of Madame Saint-Ange Chevrier in a Landscape (1807) by suffocating the titular subject with fabric and foliage wrapped tightly around her head.
As a subversive nod to the tradition of depicting dead game in academic still-life painting, Merrill’s Cat with Eel and Snail (2019) instead imagines a moment in which the artist’s subjects break free from a carefully composed tableau. Merrill reanimates the once lifeless forms of the cat, eel, and snail, allowing them to inflict their inherently violent tendencies upon one another. While Merrill’s subject matter and muted color palette constitute a somber memento mori, her loose, erratic brushstrokes imbue the scene with a frenetic energy that is very much alive.
Rife with physiological drama, the fleshy, fabric-draped forms of Bonnet’s Interior with Pink Blanket (2019) exaggerate the human body’s contours to the limits of recognizability. Her eerie composition suggests that in everyday life only the thinnest veneer of propriety masks the grotesque from view.
Filmmaker and author Miranda July joined Louise Bonnet on a video call to discuss life during lockdown, the luminosity of oil paint, and Bonnet’s forthcoming exhibition of new work. Longtime friends—and newly neighbors—the two reflect on their shared history and shared interests in the unconscious, vagueness, and the mixture of humor and pain.
Five Films: Louise Bonnet
Los Angeles painter Louise Bonnet reminisces about the films that influenced her development as an artist.
Thursday, October 3, 2019, 6pm
Gagosian, Park & 75, New York
Bill Powers will lead a second tour of Domestic Horror, currently on view at Gagosian, Park & 75, New York. The exhibition, organized by Powers and featuring several young and emerging artists, addresses the darker fears that arise when we encounter the unknown, and probes the friction between the civilized world and baser human impulses. To attend the free event, RSVP to email@example.com. Space is limited.
Tanya Merrill, Cat with Eel and Snail, 2019 © Tanya Merrill
Thursday, September 26, 2019, 6pm
Gagosian, Park & 75, New York
Bill Powers will lead a tour of Domestic Horror, currently on view at Gagosian, Park & 75, New York. The exhibition, organized by Powers and featuring several young and emerging artists, addresses the darker fears that arise when we encounter the unknown, and probes the friction between the civilized world and baser human impulses. To attend the free event, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Space is limited.
Ewa Juszkiewicz, Portrait of a Lady (after Louis Léopold Boilly), 2019 © Ewa Juszkiewicz