Frosch&portmann is pleased to announce Threshold, the gallery’s first solo exhibition with New York based artist Maya Brym.
Brym sets her tables in unique juxtapositions: a bottle cap next to a miniature horse figure, a yellow garlic bulb next to broken pencils, or a colorful pinwheel next to an empty plastic bottle—contrasting notions of joy and concern. Fully embracing the neutral basis of the genre, Maya Brym’s large-scale still life arrangements transform and re-contextualize in a way that acknowledges a space for the unknown.
The paintings in this exhibition engage with the tradition of still life in their attention to the domestic space of the table and everyday household objects – bottles, vases, bowls, animal figures – that have existed in all cultures from antiquity. As Norman Bryson argues in his 1990 book, Looking at the Overlooked, still life painting encodes this “low-plane,” domestic reality with cultural concerns relating to the world outside the home, the space of “History.” In Brym’s compositions, these two realities or spaces appear together as her ‘table’ can be interpreted as a windowsill and vast landscapes generate complex backdrops for the everyday objects. Two planes superimposing, Brym’s works represent a threshold between still life and landscape painting, between domestic interior and the reality of the world outside. The paintings depict and transform objects and artifacts from the artist’s own domestic surroundings. Vessels and animal figures she has owned for decades interact with fruit and vegetables, plastic bottles, items sourced from the internet, and more abstract, invented forms. Concerns about ecology, sexuality, economics and class, embedded in the choice and transformation of specific objects set against landscape, are interwoven with the technology and material processes of acrylic paint.
Meaning in still life is also always entwined with painting as a material practice, which reflects the technology and economic constraints of the artist’s particular context. Employing multi-layered transparencies, interplays of light and dark, and unusual color harmonies, Brym coaxes a sense of human warmth and abiding joy out of her medium.