After a year-plus of stubborn isolation, More Pain’s dual exhibition of works by Larissa De Jesús Negrón and Marc Librizzi conveys the sense that not only our bodies but also our ids are finally getting out and about.
In the four-by-five-foot canvas Romantic Routines (2020), Negrón drives us into a dream: Dresser drawers might be the dashboard and glove compartment of a boxy vehicle, its windshield surveying a sandy path through scrub while the sunroof opens on clouds scudding across a blue sky. Eyes and a sweating forehead in the rear-view mirror imply that this is no time to primp at the dressing table, because that dark, glistening snake may be inside — but whether it has entered the jalopy, someone’s nightmare, or the driver’s psyche is all up for grabs.
The focus pull of Winter in Forest Hills (2021) is the contrast between a blurry face in the mirror and sharply delineated water droplets on the glass, which hang like pendants of anxious perspiration on the hazy, grimacing reflection. Is the woman’s stress from seeing her unkempt lockdown ’do, or is it caused by the twig-like brown strands colonizing her medicine cabinet and encroaching on a purple bottle of “Anti Friz” and other hair-care products?
Librizzi similarly lets surrealism reign. In Lifting Folds, Making Creases; Soon to be (2021) tiny cranes shift the folds of the comforter on an unmade bed. Paper cutouts of a smiling sun and frowny clouds are taped to the walls or drift floorward; Venetian blinds part like a diamond orifice to reveal an exterior cityscape at an even tinier scale. Flowers burst from beneath the bed, their bright colors in the mostly white composition seeming at first cheerier than the expected monsters of childhood terrors. But closer examination reveals wilting berries and snaking leaves, like something from the Addams family’s greenhouse.
The shifts in scale and perspective continue in the aptly titled A Space Between Eyes (2020). There is no way to measure the images a human mind remembers, but Librizzi stuffs his three-foot-wide canvas with all manner of anthropomorphic beings, which, like people, have their differences. In one segment of the composition, a gesticulating tree manipulates a drawbridge on a bed, while in another vignette a creature of flame hoists a butterfly net. Eyes and noses hover in smoggy clouds or can be seen in a hand mirror, roughly at a scale and angle that implies the viewer is participating in this clearinghouse of dreams.
With her airbrushed, garish colors, Negrón’s paintings recall Peter Saul’s fluid, uninhibited figures; Librizzi’s compressed psychodynamics ride a wavelength blazed by Hilary Harkness. But with these new works from the plague year, both artists are channeling our moment, when we are figuratively (or in some cases, literally) stepping back out into the sun — perhaps wincing and twisting away, but open to weirdness as the new normal. ❖
30 Orchard St
Through May 30