The respite is brief. ‘Of all human plants,’ writes Proust, ‘Habit requires the least fostering, and is the first to appear on the seeming desolation of the most barren rock.’ Brief, and dangerously painful. The fundamental duty of Habit, about which it describes the futile and stupefying arabesques of its supererogations, consists in a perpetual adjustment and readjustment of our organic sensibility of the conditions of its worlds.
— Samuel Beckett, Proust, 1931
Galerie Max Hetzler is pleased to announce Grace Weaver’s (b. 1989, Vermont) first solo exhibition with the gallery.
In her new paintings, we see a few figures, some things scattered about the plane, minimal hints to places and locations: rubbly roadsides and barren parking garages. They are remembered places. Places, she recalls, ‘one has been to, which then go on to exist in the mind without being fully realized … memories the size of a postcard.’ The paintings are of a striking stillness and simplicity. Yet, it’s 2022 and their emblematic tenderness, is rather, as Weaver says, ‘seen through the desolate crumminess of Eliot’s Waste Land or Beckett’s Godot.
Modestly, Weaver presents one or two recurring characters amid their daily habits and routines: picking up groceries, taking out the trash, lugging deposit bottles to the Pfand, and just checking in with one another. The couples appear alternatingly close and distant, speaking and listening, at ease and on edge. Weaver is engaged in finding a tenuous equilibrium of these couples as two pictorial forces – a logic that nods to Masaccio’s Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, Baselitz’s The Great Friends and Munch’s lovers. Among them, Weaver places five new paintings of a woman’s head, each of them thoughtfully lost in herself. The heads are painted up close into a thick white ground – perhaps they are narrators, leaning in to tell a story. In this way, the exhibition constantly shifts between splendid presence and restrained intimacy.
Weaver’s palette is part of an ‘overall wish to be closer to reality’ – asphalt black, fleshy pinks, athleisure neutrals, off-whites, warm tertiary colours and touches of over-bright highlighter hues. The larger-than-life ‘trash-scapes’ come from tenebrism and a lineage of painters who employed a dark ground in a broad range of manners: Uccello, de la Tour, El Greco, Matisse, Beckmann, Guston, Dubuffet, Golub, Baselitz and Förg.
Painted wet-into-wet in pastose oil paint with over-sized brushes, there’s an immediate feel of urgency to all of her paintings. Forms are streamlined and brushstrokes are emphatic. Everything is of the same matter and flattened upon the pictorial surface. The figures, grounds and objects are all interwoven, thereby creating a tapestry, quilt or ornamental mosaic of the everyday. Weaver gets up close, not merely transcribing her surroundings into paint, but being right among them instead. Her ‘trash-scapes’ suggest that there is something to be found in the overlooked and cast-off. That there is meaning to be gleaned from the most insignificant aspects of our mundane lives.
Grace Weaver (b. 1989, Vermont) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Solo exhibitions of the artist’s work have been held in international institutions including Oldenburger Kunstverein (2019); Kunstpalais Erlangen (2019); Kunstverein Reutlingen (2017); and Dakshina Chitra, Chennai (2012). Weaver’s work has also been exhibited in group exhibitions including Braunsfelder, Cologne (2022); Wilhelm Hallen, Berlin (2022); Miettinen Collection, Berlin (2022); Neue Galerie, Gladbeck (2022); Villa Merkel, Esslingen (2022); Kunstmuseum Ravensburg (2021); Galerie Wedding, Berlin (2018); ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Aarhus (2016); University of Georgia (2015); Burlington City Arts (2013); Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington (2012); Colburn Gallery, University of Vermont, Burlington (2011); and Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne (2010).
Weaver’s works are in the collections of ARoS Aarhus Art Museum; FRAC des Pays de la Loire, Carquefou; and Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a dedicated catalogue, including an in-depth conversation between Grace Weaver and Christian Malycha as well as studio shots by Eric P. S. Degenhardt.