There’s no escaping the physicality of Gina Beavers’ paintings. Culled from the unremarkable — quotidian moments and bits of cultural flotsam — her work is grounded by the immediacy of her source material. Despite the occasional abstraction, these representations aren’t meant to veer far from their physical subjects; they’re tethered to experiential moments that are as concrete as the sculptural reliefs on her canvases. Indeed, borrowing from the pictorial language of naive painting, Beavers’ works suggest redemption for what’s unheroic among us. Le Sigh, her solo show at Nudashank in Baltimore, opened earlier this month and I had the chance to drop by for a visit.
Le sigh, of course, is the catchphrase of cartoon character Pepe Le Pew, but it’s also become expression du jour in the blogosphere as of late, denoting a dreamy sort of resignation. And not unlike peppy SMS shorthand like LOL and OMG, the meaning of le sigh is more nuanced in its written form, its significance predicated by the mediating effect of technology and social media.The paintings in Beavers’ Le Sigh, then, are similarly mediated representations of their “long form” counterparts — appropriated images from Tumblr and other corners of the Net (see Beavers’ cheeky rendition of a 1992 Vanity Fair cover, not included in her Baltimore show). Like the phrase le sigh, the impastoed depictions are far more nuanced as second incarnations, though in their naive aesthetic they aim to remain as palpably awkward as their virtual counterparts. And it’s this sophisticated back-and-forth, made material by the mediated context of our times, that ultimately becomes the subject of Beavers paintings. Seemingly, it’s what she brings to the edge of objecthood and back.
Gina Beavers lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received an MFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BA from UVA. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at PACS Gallery (Brooklyn) and group shows “Go Figure!” at Dodge Gallery (NYC) and “The Death of Affect” at ART BLOG ART BLOG (NYC).