Feelings of loneliness, fear and the unknown have engrossed the globe since the outbreak of COVID-19 back in March 2020. The pandemic can take its toll, pushing people further from others and leaving many feeling like they are living in a surreal world. Stickymonger conveys these difficult emotions across her latest body of work, but also incorporates the unpredictable, magical moments of everyday life to instill hope and positivity amid the difficult circumstances posed by the pandemic. These otherworldly pieces will fill New York City’s Allouche Gallery as part of a solo exhibition entitled “Still Smiling.”
Stickymonger’s studio practice blurs the lines between reality and fantasy. Using various types of spray-paint, she creates emotive and textural portraits of young girls rendered in a nostalgic, manga-esque fashion with subtle hints of surrealism. The artist counts her experimentations with this medium as one of her main motivations for pushing the boundaries of her practice. “I really enjoy spray-painting more than ever,” said Stickymonger. “I’m exploring these new types of material by hacking the caps and manipulating technique to attain my own, unique visual language.”
For “Still Smiling,” each painting in the show acts as a self-portrait or “inner avatar” that mirrors the artist’s shifting moods and personal challenges amid these anomalous times. Included in the presentation, is a new selection of portraits called Pandemic Drifters that features a monochromatic cast of contemplative girls in various outfits. Although distinct in their respective appearances, the characters are all carrying suitcases — a visual metaphor that represents one’s yearning to escape from their current condition, but must face the reality of being stranded in a particular space. The black backdrops of these portraits coupled with images of ghosts also induce a fear of being lost, of forever floating in a phantasmagoric atmosphere.
“Still Smiling” will launch on March 13. Visit Allouche Gallery’s website for more information.
Elsewhere in art, COMPOUND has released a series of NFT editions and accompanying merchandise featuring Anthony Geathers’ portraits focused on sports and local communities.
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