WHAT SHE SAID
Gyan Shrosbree, “What She Said”, July 24th - September 24th, 2022
"For as long as I can remember clothing and shoes have been a place of deep bonding with the women in my life, and a source of inspiration for my work. I’m always approaching the canvas as a clothing item. I think in terms of the painting and its wearability, its connection to the body.”
Gyan Shrosbree's female figures painted on thick archival paper hang from the edge of the ceiling to the floor of the gallery, a chorus of muses. Cat lover, telephone operator, sartorial scholar, taciturn coquette, unexpected warrior, debutante queen, moms and mistresses fill the gallery with their plain posturing in vivid hues. Dressed in capes, puffy pink sleeves and peekaboo bustles with stilettos protruding from hips and feathers from ears they sport blue and pink skin, undefined features, green and red hair.
Not wildly loquacious, the ladies barely bother to exclaim. They quietly announce, "Oh" and “Word,” so you must come closer to hear. What DID she say, you ask? What she said, wasn’t what you think. Her “Ohs” and “Words” are not naive or coy but matter-of-fact, inquisitive, describing a Universe of Wonder. Shrosbree’s muses are open and curious, asking us to notice, look, observe. In frank array, they arrange themselves to be seen and celebrated. But unlike many Women of Art, being seen for Shrosbree’s army of shes does not require a reveal of skin. Instead they are Hostess with the Mostest, dressed to the nines.
In fact when Shrosbree's painted figure isn’t en habille, she all but disappears. When disembodied, we’re left with bathing suits and bikinis, telephones and plants, as if she got undressed and left her things strewn about the room. A one-piece bathing suit with ruffles, a cherry red telephone, a pink and green bikini bottom. These small paintings of objects punctuate the gallery’s ensemble of “Ohs” like notes scribbled, lists made, errands forgotten, desires traced, memories re-played. Did I water the plants? Call Mom back?
Embracing rudimentary forms and the materiality of color, Shrosbree’s work,"tends to reduce the image to an iconic flat shape that can be infinitely generated. The accumulation of many paintings when hung together create new patterns, rhythms, stories.” For Shrosbree, these narratives are often about memories; of an outfit, a childhood bedspread, her grandmother at the nail salon. Painting for Shrosbree is a way to re-experience the pleasure and universal desire for people, places and things.
Shrosbree’s figures and their bodiless effects are less about what she said than about how she says it. Soft, uproarious, antic, deliberate, bookworm or coquette, these ladies all agree. You can imagine them, standing around in their fancy dress ohhh-ing and ahhh-ing, nodding their heads, smoothing their skirts, fluffing feathers, affirming one another’s thoughts, ideas, choices, (Word!), as women do.
In conjunction with "What She Said", A solo exhibition of paintings by GYAN SHROSBREE, JEFF has collaborated with the artist on a Limited Edition Swim Collection. Swimsuits and towels printed with paintings by GYAN SHROSBREE can be purchased online and in the gallery through September 24th, 2022. Find Gyan Shrosbree's Painted Swim Collection here.