Laney Contemporary is pleased to announce Cooling Effect, a solo exhibition by artist Shea Slemmer. The paintings, all produced in Savannah, will be on view from January 31, 2019 to March 2, 2019.
Each large-scale, square-format oil painting reveals a complex material and emotional journey, employing gravity, dripping, textured layering, brushwork, mark-making, and intention. Slemmer has had a studio in Brooklyn and Savannah for the past year, all the while traveling frequently by car to rural art-world destination Marfa, Texas, her new studio-home beginning in 2019. Located in the high desert of west Texas near Big Bend National Park, the artist’s new desert landscape finds a meeting point in her work with the southeastern distant vistas of the Georgia Low Country. These long-stretching, big sky, liminal spaces of transition can be felt in her compositions, as if merging east and west through the shared, abstracted openness of the two. Each vignette-like vision of space reveals a kind of facing forward, addressing a literal and symbolic open sky and fresh landscape, abstractions of place and transition absorbed into each composition. Slemmer notes that her process is often about painting with elements of control and planned openness or lack of control. “It is like a partnership with another entity, in this case with the horizon.”
Many of the paintings seem to oscillate between near and distant views, delineating a transparent surface, like an element of glass or the “windshield therapy” offered by a long haul, as if timelessly staring into the distance until near and far merge. The eye transitions between surface nearness, the present, and distant possibility, the future, alternating depth of field and shifting perspectives on numerous levels. Slemmer embraces the act of painting as a process of discovery and, as such, it is about the layering and then shedding of meaning and materials, creating opportunity for unexpected encounters. She notes that each body of work represents something she has never encountered before. She intuits her work as though it is leaving something beautiful behind while confronting something of equivalent beauty ahead. Cooling Effect addresses painting itself as a slow process of action and friction which produces heat, then accumulation, and a kind of cooling release into the atmosphere. The process is as close to the life cycle, both in the marsh and in the desert, as it is to the human experience. To make a mark is to be alive, to create frictions, to cool down and to shed with acceptance. In essence, the work explores the Socratic experience of a life examined.
Shea Slemmer (b. 1977) grew up in the rolling horse country of Ocala, FL. After Slemmer received her BFA at the University of North Florida she set up a studio in Savannah, then New York and is currently building a new studio in Marfa, TX. Slemmer ties her work to process with a direct connection to the five senses. Working primarily in oil on canvas, the paintings produced are products of the everyday. A visible roadmap of her personal experiences. Slemmer’s works can be found in collections across the United States and Europe. Her recent solo exhibitions include Sweet Lorraine Gallery in Brooklyn, NY and The Telfair Museum in Savannah, GA. She has been published in Studio Visit Magazine, Atomic Ranch, Savannah Magazine and The South Magazine.