Past

Siobhan Liddell

Mist and Nuts

May 1–June 12, 2022

New York

Gordon Robichaux is pleased to present Mist and Nuts, Siobhan Liddell’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. This new body of work first developed out of the artist’s 2021 residency at Steep Rock Arts in Washington, CT. For her exhibition at Gordon Robichaux, Liddell will present recent oil paintings—many incorporating ceramic and found object elements—and a ceramic sculpture of a wave formation. Throughout, Liddell moves freely between images and media to explore memory and impermanence.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Gordon Robichaux commissioned the following text by writer Amelia Stein:

Install (19)

Mist and Nuts contains 17 painting assemblages by Siobhan Liddell. 17 images with ceramic and other sculptural elements such as wire, straws, fabric, and foil. Here are 17 figures of Liddell’s feeling for form and material. 17 pieces of life on Earth. Here are 17 arrangements of what is at hand or at heart. 17 intuitions of rest and work. There are 17 days in this quixotic month.

Liddell started these paintings last summer. She had lost several people close to her and time was opening to swallow. Liddell meditates and has space for emptiness. What she didn’t expect in these works was form. They are not about loss but about change. Here are 17 experiments with time and mutability. 17 takes on the infinitude alive in bounded things.

“Leg of Lamb” comes between “April 21” and “April 22” in Bernadette Mayer’s Works and Days. Liddell’s works also treat the everyday as superadded. Figures play beyond edges and parts that hang or drape or frame reverse visual encounter with texture, so that the eye is asked to feel before it sees. Liddell stands accused of affinity with “poor materials.” The New York Times called Liddell’s work “odd poetry,” which is one way to say that she includes in composition what is out of place.

Oddness estranges and compels. Weird, someone says, feeling jealous, curious, or in awe. Oddness disarranges consciousness and opens up vision. Is the empty cardboard box or the drained pool a cenotaph? Are ceramics to image what shape is to sky? Liddell’s material impulses get worked over. Liddell makes minor architectures of touch and feeling. These ask questions: What is memory? What is seeing? Where does image come from?

Ovid sends Iris for visions to the palace of sleep. I get the sense that image arrives similarly in Liddell’s work, outside the daylight of consciousness. Her varied sources—photographs, memories, in-the-world, mind’s eye—obviate distinctions of “outer” and “inner” vision. Image in Liddell’s work is a visitation, sensed before it is seen. Image is a filter sense passes through on its way to form. Specific like a body, bodied like a hand. Image intercedes in being and is its shape.

Liddell’s friend Matt Connors wrote that painting isn't about vision, painting is vision. These uncharacteristically figurative works ask me to look at what they’re depicting, as well as how they appear, and when I do, they start to seem more like figurative abstractions in which (even) narrativity points to the fact of their making. Lucio Fontana’s crucifixes improbably come to mind. Liddell is a maker and material is her subject matter. Here are 17 times image is inseparable from material which is vision.

Sprung from the grey estate building, the wire, like an eye, casts barely into space. This wire is fishing for the work's extents, which are serious and sincere, even as the nuts and bolts of it are disappearing. Mist settles, improbable, Johanna Fateman wrote, enchanted. Back to Iris. Form is magic. Image is restless. Liddell communes with the solid and the shifting. Ceramic doily over painted torso, sun rising toward fabric skies, love under branches and in blue jeans, an impossibly pink story on this regular, regular English afternoon.

—Amelia Stein

Works

Wrapped Munch

Oil on canvas and ribbon

18.25 x 22 inches

2021

Luminous Splendor

Acrylic on linen, string, and aluminum foil

24 x 22 inches

2021

Everything Is Made of Mind

Oil on canvas

24 x 30 inches; 25.125 x 31.25 inches (framed)

2021

Fifteenth Floor

Oil on linen, wire, string, and wood

55 x 43 x 14 inches

2022

Listen In

Oil on linen, wire, and paper straws

23 x 18 inches

2021

In a Year of 13 Moons

Oil on linen, glazed ceramic, and nails

25.25 x 25.25 inches

2021

Untitled

Oil on linen and glazed ceramic

18.5 x 22 inches

2022

Togethering

Oil on linen, paper, bookbinding linen, glue, wire, and shell

20.5 x 29 inches

2021

Endless Eternal

Oil on linen, glazed ceramic, nail, and glue

19.5 x 22 inches

2021

N E Studio Hat

Oil on linen in artist’s frame

16.75 x 15.5 inches

2021

M P

Oil on canvas

19 x 13.25 inches

2022

Puddle

Oil on linen in walnut frame

20 x 16 inches; 21.25 x 17.375 inches (framed)

2021

Morning Painting

Oil on canvas, acrylic on wood, and hardware

59 x 57.75 inches

2022

The Waves

Glazed ceramic, in six parts

8 x 16 x 12 inches

2022

Void, Hammer

Oil on canvas, glazed ceramic, and nail

23.5 x 18.5 inches

2021

Snowflake

Oil on canvas and fabric

22 x 28 inches

2022

Press

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Gordon Robichaux