New YorkHilary Pecis: Stairs
Halsey McKay Gallery presents Stairs, Hilary Pecis’ fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.
Hilary Pecis began painting again following the birth of her son. Not wanting to spend time in the electronic ether of the internet on a research-based project that she began in grad school, she returned to acrylic painting on canvas and depicted what was physically around her. As early motherhood found her homebound, she began a strategy of zooming in and out of areas to create a wide range of compositions from a limited set of objects and space, frequently those within just one room. A patterned pillow or cactus, found in multiple works, could act as as detail in one picture, and a dominant abstraction in another. Made up of just two paintings, Stairs emphasizes this strategy again. On one wall is Spanish Stairs, one of Pecis’ largest and most ambitious works to date. The painting depicts the corner of an art and book filled room with a metal banister leading to an upper floor, out of frame. There are so many lush and idiosyncratic detailsthat the mis-en-scene becomes the subject.
Directly across, on the opposing wall, is Shadow Stairs where Pecis has chosen a portion of the home owner’s collection as a focal point. The light has warmed a few degrees and the shadows behind objects have shifted ever-so-slightly. This new vantage point reveals a new shadow cast onto the wall by the bannister, otherwise it could be the same moment. The scale and relationship of brushstrokes to ground hold the same proportions, but are applied to different areas of the room. This playfulness with paint and how it dances so differently across the same objects from one painting to the other, highlights Pecis’ ability to show us what it is like to look at objects through the lens of a painter. Both paintings invite us into her world though precisely depicted details. Specific fonts on book spines, rattan furniture, porcelain animals and ceramic tiles, a densely patterned carpet and pictures on the walls are all granted saturated life in these two visually stunning, yet modest memorials. This focused presentation grants the intimacy of repeated looking at a singular space that sparked the artist to so generously share her world with us.
all images © the gallery and the artist(s)