Simone Subal Gallery is pleased to present Fertile Cloth, Veronika Pausova’s fourth exhibition with the gallery, comprising intricate new paintings.
A trusty turtleneck worn by Pausova for over fifteen years is one of many recurring characters in Fertile Cloth, an exhibition that mines the overlaps between disembodiment, control, and surrender. Favorite articles of clothing get softer from years of steadily absorbing the oils of our skin, as well as our actions, metaphysical impulses, and desires. As the fibers become increasingly pliant, Pausova reanimates her clothing for a second use: to absorb the pigments that she dips and smears them in before laying them to rest on the surfaces of her canvases. Relinquishing a controlled outcome, Pausova allows her unruly turtleneck to inadvertently create a different persona each time it flops onto the canvas, sometimes appearing exuberant while at other times deflated, or docile.
Throughout the exhibition, old clothes and borrowed feet disobey the fabric of accepted reality. Pausova’s disembodied limbs and inanimate objects are in fact alive and kicking, manifesting an innocent yearning to see things that aren’t really there. Although the turtleneck is pulled directly from Pausova’s lived experience, the sassy open-toed heels are a motif of pure masquerade. Reminiscent of a desire to try on Mom’s heels, Pausova’s imagery raises questions about how far the pantomime can go. Maybe it’s okay that the nail polish has started to chip; all performances have their limitations. Elsewhere, empty clothes hangers and insects flutter amicably across windowscapes, and strings and scaffolding imply a marionette-like logic: the mechanics are in plain sight, yet the operator remains to be seen.
Given the right conditions a tiny, centralized point of energy has the potential to unfurl into new life, whether that results in the opening of a fresh leaf or the birth of the cosmos. As seen in Pausova’s expansive triptych, an enormous spider-like celestial body swallows up an eclipse of moths and subsequently radiates outward. A stomach, a brain, a uterus, a family – Pausova further complicates the ambiguity of these bodily points of origin by isolating and using them interchangeably. Without an actionable path forward, sometimes the only way to loosen a knot in one’s stomach is to seek comic release and to laugh out loud.
– Moira Sims