Electrical Flower
Veronika Pausova, Anna Zemánková

May 13 - Jun 18, 2022

Opening: Friday, May 13: 4 – 8PM

Electrical Flower is a two-person exhibition that places new paintings by Veronika Pausova in dialogue with works on paper by the late Czech artist Anna Zemánková. The show proposes a taut line stretching between these artists, an electrical flash that hums between the artists’ works, one old and one new.

To make her drawings, Zemánková describes sitting down to work well before dawn, during what she called the witching hour, when she could draw smoothly and without hesitation. I imagine a curved line on the page mirroring the movement of her hand, pulling two points together and creating a moment of connection and tension. Likewise, Pausova’s paintings depict unlikely stories that pick up speed and change direction as she works. Objects bump up against one another, creating a rhyming logic that is not easily explained. Art historian Helen Molesworth describes a tangential alternative to the textbook timeline of art history. In her version, she makes space for alliances across generations and moments of connection, where artists might discover—“a shared disavowal of speech and language and a common ambivalence toward claims of self-expression.” I picture a dialogue of shifting strings and weights between Pausova and Zemánková’s work. A shaky, bright line connecting a rosebud, an ear and lacey root tendrils. Visual logic, while informed by a dose of intuition, restructured to reflect a shared sense of the untranslatable nature of images and objects.

Pausova’s paintings depict maps of dense, detailed imagery that are both alluring and perplexing. In her paintings, layers of flat colour and implied texture create an intersecting dream space, where narrative and nonsense intertwine. Zemánková’s drawings often combine pencil crayon, ballpoint pen, pastel, and embroidery thread to create forms that look like lopsided fantastical flora or bodies under a microscope. The works share an intimacy that is alive with invention. As the painter Amy Sillman describes in her essay on the diagram, it is the saggy droop in the line that can’t be planned or the uneasy crop that pulls us in. “At finger’s end, beyond the graph, off the chart, in the realm of not-knowing, lay the weird unformed excess, the chora, not information.” Both artists’ works suggest a sense of structure that mirrors a failing circuit board, a poem on a page, or a cross section of a buzzing plant.

The title for the exhibition Electrical Flower is borrowed from a drawing by Zemánková, made in the second half of the 1960s using pastel, india ink and ballpoint pen.

– Katie Lyle, 2022

Terezie Zemánková, “Up from the depths,” in Zemánková, Anna, 1908-1986, ed Terezie Zemánková and Anežka Šimková 1 (Prague : ABCD : KANT, 2017) 22. Helen Molesworth, “How to Install Art as a Feminist,” in Modern Women: women artists at the Museum of Modern Art, ed.Cornelia 2 Butler and Alexandra Schwartz (New York: Distributed Art Publishers, 2010), 508. Amy Sillman, “Notes on the Diagram,” The Paris Review (November 12, 2020), np. Accessed April 30, 2022. https:// 3www.theparisreview.org/blog/2020/11/12/notes-on-the-diagram/

Veronika Pausova was born in 1987 in Prague, Czech Republic. She currently lives and works in Monetville, Ontario, Canada. Selected solo and two-person exhibitions include Esker Foundation, Calgary, Canada (2022); Bradley Ertaskiran, Montréal, Canada (2021); The Sunday Painter, London, UK (2021); Parisian Laundry, Montréal (2018); Hunt Kastner, Prague (2018); Kaka, Toronto (2018); Tatjana Pieters, Ghent, Belgium (2017); Motel, Brooklyn, New York (2016); and SARDINE, Brooklyn, New York (2015). Select group shows include The Erling Kagge Collection, Santander Art Gallery, Madrid, Spain (2020); If I have a body, Remai Modern, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (2019); On Anxiety, Cleve Carney Gallery, Chicago, Illinois (2018); An Assembly of Shapes, Oakville Galleries, Oakville, Ontario (2018); Line and Verse, Andrehn-Schiptjenko, Stockholm (2018); RBC 2017, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario (2017); Sojourner Truth Parsons, Sean Steadman, Veronika Pausova, 11R, New York, NY (2017); Seek Professional Help, Bureau, New York, NY (2016); and Gesture Play, Simone Subal, New York, NY (2016).

Czech artist Anna Zemánková (1908 – 1986) is seen as one of the important female artists in the Art Brut pantheon, along with Jeanne Tripier, Madge Gill, Aloise Corbaz, and Emma Kunz. Her works were prominently displayed in the Encyclopedic Palace at the 2013 Venice Biennale curated by Massimiliano Gioni, at Frieze Masters that same year, and in many other important museum exhibitions. Her work is in the public collections of the Milwaukee Art Museum, WI; American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY; Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM; Collection de l’art Brut, Lausanne, Switzerland; Arnulf Rainer Museum, Baden, Austria; and private collections including abcd collection, Paris, and The Museum of Everything, London, as well as other important private collections of contemporary art. Cavin-Morris Gallery has been representing her work worldwide since 1992.