Kantor Gallery is pleased to present “Handful”, a new solo exhibition by Brooklyn based artist Lucia Love presented from June 11, 2021, through July 3, 2021.
“I usually think of paintings in kind of literary terms rather than compositional terms but as far as the actual construction of each work goes, I aim to make paintings that circumvent the traditional aim for a unified style. So seeing passages of two dimensional and three dimensional rendering in concert happens within each grouping. For this group I also decided to go more for an iconic portrait style with graphic backgrounds or passages of splashy color to emphasize the central figure. I’m inspired by painters like Neo Rauch and Peter Saul for their all encompassing view that allows them to partake in world building while referencing history, politics, culture, what have you.
The selection of works included in Handful represent a cross section of the character designs that function as allegorical tools to meditate on ambiguous relationships to power. Behind each goofy or raucous composition is a coded symbolic inquiry into concepts of feminism, individualism, and collectivity set in a world of ambiguity that oscillates between doom and hope. The narratives that get me to start painting are not the only ways to read these images, but I’ll include my original thoughts as a jumping off point.
The blend of doom and hope most clearly registers in the comedic mash up called Is This Fine? Where the character of The Dreamer who most commonly inhabits classic Disney scenes can be seen serenely regarding a butterfly within a burning room that we now recognize as the most 2020 meme possible.
The butterfly has a resonance with the moth in the painting titled Gospel where a statuesque figure stands elegantly unfurling a scroll while cloth billows around their torso, creating deep shadows that read like void spaces. Upon the scroll is a drawing of a cartoon hand with the alchemical symbol for water drawn in the center — this is a nod to previous paintings which contain the same design. All of the symbols in this painting universe are interlocking and recurring so that meaning develops over time through different combinations. Whenever a moth face figure is present, they may be regarded as harbingers of change, as moths traditionally may be viewed as symbols of transformation and the mystery of life after death.
The flimsy yet enduring ring of people seen hovering above the angel who’s epically smiting the snake in the painting titled Michael, exudes power and capability. After my last solo show FIREWATER depicted so many scenes that incorporated devastation, these angelic forms may be viewed as a call to solidarity, and a way to illustrate the strength people can gain from working together. Not only are the rings of people joined by the arms, they’re also sharing thoughts which make their formation even stronger. And when the ring of people are joined, they are also capable of piloting larger bodies than all of them combined!
The figure of The Water Carrier is also included in this selection. Here she’s depicted as a fountain that magically has enough water to quench the thirst of all the ring of mouths surrounding her. In this form she has multiple faces and limbs as if she were a seraphim angel, though she still maintains the shackles that bind her to the duty of carrying water on her head — a reference to cultural associations like ms porter’s finishing school or women from countries that lack infrastructure and are commonly tasked with fetching water for their family etc. This is one of the longest running characters of the bunch.
Hotdog and Time and Space are a bit more simple in their readings as they’re mostly just a visual wordplay. The hotdog was the inspiration for the show title Handful, and Time and space is what I imagine time looks like, just shredding through the universe.
Lastly the painting Acquisition is an attempt to depict a moment when an ancient fossil is imbued with the magic of ownership. The shark’s tooth hovers in connection with the hands that show it off as a powerful totem.”
— Lucia Love, Thoughts on Handful, June 2021
Lucia Love (b. 1988, New York, NY) attended the School of Visual Arts on a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, where she studied painting and animation. She is co-host of the podcast Art and Labor, which chronicles the stories of social justice organizing within the art world and advocates for fair labor practices for artists, museum workers, art handlers, interns, and anyone traditionally overworked and underpaid in the field.
Handful is on view by appointment only starting June 11, 2021 through July 3, 2021, Monday through Friday from 11am to 5pm. For more information or to book an appointment to view the exhibition please email firstname.lastname@example.org.