For Shelley unites 10 female artists inspired by the complicated legacy of 1970s independent film icon Shelley Duvall. For many, Duvall evokes a specific time and place in American cinema. Her quirky features and enigmatic style were sources of inspiration for several male auteurs associated with the American New Wave (1968-1980).
In 1973’s “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” Laura Mulvey states, “Cinematic codes create a gaze, a world, and an object, thereby producing an illusion cut to the measure of desire. It is these cinematic codes and their relationship to formative external structures that must be broken down before mainstream film and the pleasure it provides can be challenged.” The loosening of the constrictive Motion Picture Production Codes in the 1960s granted American New Wave filmmakers more flexibility to challenge the stylistic conventions of their predecessors. Although not entirely breaking down the issues addressed by Mulvey, films from this movement explored previously taboo subjects and critiqued the tense social and political climate that arose after Vietnam and Watergate. This prolific yet relatively short-lived moment upended viewers’ expectations and allowed for the emergence of an atypical presence like Shelley Duvall.
Duvall’s failed attempt at selling her boyfriend’s art to Robert Altman thrust her into a starring role in Brewster McCloud (1970). Quickly an Altman muse, she appeared in five more of his films including Nashville (1975), and 3 Women (1977), for which she won best actress at Cannes. Now both a recognizable celebrity and respected actress, she appeared in films by Woody Allen, Terry Gilliam, and most famously, Stanley Kubrick. Her iconic image was epitomized on the cover of Interview Magazine in 1977. In this issue, Duvall recounts—in an interview with Andy Warhol and Bob Colacello—her reluctant initiation into acting:
DUVALL: Yes, they said, "How would you like to be in a movie?" and I thought, "Oh, no, a porno film," because I'd been approached for that when I was 17 in a drugstore.
WARHOL: What did you do?
DUVALL: The guy left me with the bill for the Coca-Cola. So this time I said, "No, thank you," and they called my parents' house and got hold of me and after a while we became such good friends that I had no fear. I said, "I'm not an actress." They said, "Yes, you are." Finally, I said, "All right, if you think I'm an actress I guess I am."
By decade’s end, blockbuster films produced by major studios eclipsed the avant-garde and suddenly, Duvall, who had come to redefine celebrity in her brief tenure, fell out of favor. In light of the present political atmosphere, Duvall serves as a reminder that, in a time of cultural turmoil, what is initially seen as peripheral and obscure, may actually bring forth a necessary shift in paradigm.
These paintings, drawings and works on paper (created specifically for the exhibition) present a fresh reanalysis of Duvall’s image, one that aims to look to her legacy from a contemporary vantage point that extends beyond the fixation of the male gaze.
Rachael Abrams is an artist living and working in New York. She received her BA in Fine Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her work has been exhibited in galleries in the US and abroad including Dilettante Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Be Electric Studios, Brooklyn, NY; Active Space, Brooklyn, NY; Lower East Side Printshop, New York, NY; 3rd Ward, Brooklyn, NY; Bushwick Print Lab, Brooklyn, NY; Galleria Esther Montoriol, Barcelona, Spain; and Arspace Gallery, San Francisco, CA. She is the recipient of The Robert Sillins Foundation Travel, Research, and Project Grant and the Irwin Foundation for the Arts Grant.
Tryn Collins lives and works on Fishers Island, NY where she's the Fellowship Director for Lighthouse Works. She received an MFA from Hunter College and a BA from Brown University. Collins was an artist in residence at the Woodstock-Byrdcliffe Guild and the Shandaken Project as well as a founding member of Underdonk in Brooklyn, NY.
Patricia Fabricant is a painter and award-winning book designer, born in New York City. She received her BA from Wesleyan University and studied painting in Florence Italy, through the Syracuse University program. Her abstract paintings have been exhibited widely at such galleries as David & Schweitzer Contemporary, Front Room, Schema Projects and Sideshow in Brooklyn, Morgan Lehman and the National Arts Club in New York and Geoffrey Young Gallery and No. 6 Depot, in the Berkshires. She recently began working figuratively both on a series of political pieces, called Paper Dolls, and on her most recent self-portraits, which she began in response to the recent election and its aftermath. She lives in Brooklyn and shares a studio at the Elizabeth Foundation, in Manhattan.
Ivy Haldeman (b. 1985 Aurora, CO) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Her current paintings and drawings engage the sensual and idle world of an anthropomorphized hotdog. Recent solo exhibitions include, Breathless (Colossus), Royal Nonesuch Gallery, Oakland, CA (2017); Ivy Haldeman, Mayor Projects, Aarhus, DK (2017); Pulp, Simuvac Projects, Brooklyn, NY (2016); and Rhymes with Nude, The Wurks, Providence, RI (2016). She has also exhibited at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Romeo and DTN Gallery in New York. Ivy received her BFA from the Cooper Union.
Aisling Hamrogue (b.1980 New York), based in New York, examines the objectification and fetishization of the female body within our contemporary culture. Her carefully rendered representational oil painting style is influenced by horror genre book cover and film poster illustrations from the 70’s and 80’s. Having a deep interest in Horror films since her teenage years, Hamrogue explores the ways in which this genre is committed to the sexual and physical annihilation of women. The illustrational style employed in the paintings is that of “a lovesick teenage girl.” These paintings have a purposeful style of a somewhat skilled amateur. This painting style, drawn more strongly from book cover illustrations than from classical oil painting techniques reveals a fidelity to a type of aesthetic more commonly seen outside of a fine art context. By summoning her teenage self to create these works, the presence of a “young woman” becomes an actor throughout the paintings. Hamrogue work plays with the notion of socially-constructed signifiers of femininity in attempts to uncover the hidden power dynamics underlying our visual languages. Aisling Hamrogue received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2004 and completed her MFA from Hunter College in 2016. She has exhibited her work in group shows across the United States and Europe.
Heather Morgan, painter chanteuse, is recognizable for sumptuous self-portraits and figure paintings that vibrate between an intimate vulnerability and potent self-possession. She received her BFA from Boston University and her MFA from Yale. Morgan has had solo shows at Jack the Pelican in New York City, and at Ladengalerie in Berlin, and her work has been in group exhibitions at Steven Harvey Fine Arts, David & Schweitzer Contemporary, Lodge Gallery and Charlie James Gallery, among others. Her work is represented by David & Schweitzer Contemporary where she will have a solo exhibition in 2018.
Vanessa Navarrete received her BFA in painting at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Navarrete has exhibited widely, including solo shows at Hardcore Art Contemporary in Miami, and Metaphor Contemporary in Brooklyn and a two person show at Simuvac Projects in Brooklyn. Her work has been commissioned for many private and corporate collections including the Ralph Burnet Collection at the Chambers Luxury Art Hotel.
Emily north/em16 is an artist analyzing figurative depiction through large-scale immersive works on paper and permanent tattoos on skin. They currently live and work in Brooklyn, NY. From 2003-2007, they co-founded riffRAG, a queer, anti-racist, feminist art magazine, and curated related art exhibitions in New York City. Their work has been exhibited in film festivals and galleries, including SOHO20, Leslie Lohman, Fountain Art Fair, Artists Space, Longwood Gallery, SF Arts Commission, Queens Museum of Art, New Fest, and Brooklyn Borough Hall. After retiring from 15 years working as a graphic designer, they now make artwork in their Brooklyn studio, teach courses at Parsons, and tattoo. www.em16.com/ instagram @em16 @em16art
Sarah Thibault is an artist living and working in San Francisco. She has exhibited projects at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, Steve Turner Contemporary, City Limits, Alter Space, Egyptian Art & Antiques and ART in Embassies. Her paintings have been featured in The Huffington Post, San Francisco Magazine, SFAQ, The Examiner and 7x7. Thibault is a Co Director of The Painting Salon, a nomadic lecture series featuring monthly artist talks. She holds an MFA from the California College of the Arts, a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and a BA from the University of Wisconsin- Madison.
Janegila Wright is an artist and educator living in Brooklyn, NY.
Joseph A. Gross and Theresa Hioki are the minds behind Simuvac Projects, a curatorial initiative that examines media and culture through a post-post-(post?)-modern lens.