Chandran Gallery, San Francisco
Swoon + Monica Canilao.
— Chandran Gallery is pleased to present Witch-Wife, a monumental exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist Swoon and Oakland-based artist, Monica Canilao transforming the gallery into a dreamscape environment. Through intricate paper cut-outs, installation boxes, and mix-media assemblages, the artists focus a contemporary lens on archaic practices of introspection. Both artists will present new collections as well as unveil a site-specific installation on the gallery’s ground floor. The exhibition will be on view February 19 to April 01, 2016 with an opening reception on Friday, February 19 from 7-9:30pm. Swoon’s work is often a reflection of contemporary and historical events. For Witch-Wife, the artist turns her attention to the act of self-reflection and interpreting one’s own feelings. She explores the idea that antiquated practices of introspection may offer more genuine revelations of self-discovery in our modern times. To a large extent, Swoon references the old-world practice of analyzing dreams and the hazy imagery conjured from one’s subconscious.
These sentiments are embodied through deeply personal portraits – a mother nursing her baby, children encountered through travels, a fetus in utero and a women with an ornate heart glowing through her chest. The dreamlike and subliminal qualities are further enhanced by delicate layering of fragmented images and symbols within each piece. Her signature paper portraits and installation boxes are composed of myriad materials including: block print, paper cut-outs, acrylic paint, coffee stains and found objects.
“Witch-Wife”, the bygone term for a woman that practices witchcraft, is a light-hearted reference to herself and her longtime collaborator, artist Monica Canilao. Working together on the installation, they create an otherworldly panorama that centers on a sculptural haven containing dreams. These dreams were collected from Swoon’s Dream Reliquary where strangers anonymously share their stories. For the installation, the artist will experiment in creating 3D forms in-the-round, a departure from her method of layering 2D elements to create depth.
Canilao brings an intensity to the show’s theme of melding the old with the new. The artist synthesizes multi-disciplines ranging from painting to sewing, to create richly adorned pieces that evoke ceremony and ritual. She incorporates personal and treasured objects with recycled and found materials as a means to intertwine her personal experience with physical remnants of past lives. Knives, fur, bones and swaths of fabric bring a primordial and sacred sense to Canilao’s large-scale mixed-media works. The new collection expands upon the artist’s signature motifs of reclaimed portraits, Native American imagery, painted birds, fort like environments and perennial journeys.
Working under the artist name Swoon, Caledonia “Callie” Curry is a classically trained visual artist and printmaker who has spent the last 14 years exploring the relationship between people and their constructed environment. Her first interventions in the urban landscape took the form of wheat-pasting portraits to the walls of cities around the world, a project that is still evolving. She co-founded Konbit Shelter in 2010, an artist’s response to the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti that same year. Other community-based endeavors include: collaborating on the construction of musical architecture in New Orleans, LA, a neighborhood revitalization project in North Braddock, PA and work within the field of mental health/addiction recovery in Philadelphia, PA. Alongside her place-based work,
Curry has a studio practice of drawing, printmaking, architectural sculpture and installations. Her work has been collected and shown internationally at galleries and museums, including: Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Institute of ContemporaryArt, Boston, MA; and São Paulo Museum of Art São Paulo, Brazil. The artist has been featured in numerous publications including: The New York Times, Vogue, The Guardian and New York Magazine.
Monica Canilao is a Oakland-based artist working in various mediums and medias including stitching, painting, printing, sculpture, installation, public art and site-specific works. Collaborating with friends and often on solo projects, Canilao makes a delicate visual record of the personal and communal. She received a BFA from California College of Arts and Crafts and has shown in galleries, community spaces, abandoned places throughout the world. Her recent works has been shown at Subliminal Projects in Los Angeles, Krets in Malmo, Sweden, Galleria Patricia Armocida with Swoon and Dennis McNett in Milan, Italy, “The Djerba Hood” mural project in Tunisia, and curated a 45-artist group show at Inner State Gallery in Detroit. She currently is collaborating on a project with National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey involving Slab City in the Sonoran Desert in southeast California. The artist has been featured in The Huffington Post, Vice, ArtSlant and Stylelikeu and Apartamento.