FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
SOPHIA NARRETT THIS MEANT NOTHING at Arts+Leisure
May 28th-June 28th 2015
Arts+Leisure is proud to present a new series of embroidered paintings by Sophia Narrett, her debut solo in NYC. This Meant Nothing weaves together a narrative gleaned from social media including Tumblr, pop tabloids, softcore porn, fashion photography and personal history into breathtakingly beautiful skeins of colored thread, leaving an indelible impression of mingled highbrow and lowbrow culture on the viewer. The line between fiction and reality is toyed with and blurred by Narrett as she reveals the story, detail by detail, in her uniquely fabricated scenes.
The series of four sequential works follows two women through a confusing love story which begins on the set of “The Bachelor”. The narrative is cast with images of Lauren Morelli and Samira Wiley, the former of which is a writer for the TV show “Orange is the New Black,” and recently left her real life husband to be with Samira, one of the show’s main actresses. The story resolves itself painfully, and the end involves a mixture of punishment and heartbreak, as well as the lurking futility of escapism. Here is an excerpt from Narrett’s book, which accompanies the project:
I was a contestant on The Bachelor. When I arrived at the mansion I was numb and depressed. The first night I didn’t shower or brush my hair. I think I was wearing sweatpants. I was at the first cocktail party when I caught sight of this woman. I was completely shocked by the sight of her, and immediately embarrassed by my appearance. I forgot about the Bachelor, and I spent the entire night looking out of the corner of my eye to see where she was and what she was doing. I was obsessed with her. A few days after I met her I was walking outside near the pool house and all of a sudden the air smelled like her. I looked around for her and when I didn’t see her I was confused but I knew I should just enjoy the moment. It was the best air I had ever smelled. A few seconds later I walked up the steps and when I opened the door to the pool house she was standing inside, leaning against the wall. I knew I wouldn’t ignore this feeling. She was my chance to be alive.
The characters in Narrett’s images sometimes occupy a liberated, idiosyncratic sexuality, and other times represent a sick internalization of the gaze, repression, and social conditioning. This Meant Nothing oscillates between these spaces of liberation and possession, in terms of love and sexuality as well as material desires for luxury, fashion and beauty. Pop culture, personal experience and fiction intersect to describe love, and to depict the artist’s fantasies and questions relating to beauty and desire.
Narrett explains: My images are driven by an effort to make exactly what I want to see and to express an honest fantasy. Through the creation of stylized fictional situations, I imagine stories of embodiment, beauty, eroticism, personality, fear, and resignation within a collapsing fantasy. The decadence of the images, in their content as well as their construction, becomes a futile yet desperately desired condition of escape. My choice to build images in thread stems from the repercussions embroidery holds for the image, as well as the way that it dictates the process. Embroidery erases the specificity of photographic source material. This erasure becomes part of a taming process, as explicit imagery is filtered through thread it trades some of its intensity for a more nuanced flavor. As the emotionality of the narratives heightens to that of melodrama, my investment in the embroidery process speaks to the overwrought nature of the fantasy.
Sophia Narrett was born in 1987 in Concord, MA. She received her MFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and her BA in Visual Arts from Brown University. She has participated in residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Vermont Studio Center. She has had solo exhibitions at Space Gallery in Portland, ME and Jordan Faye Contemporary in Baltimore, MD. Her work has been included in group shows at Mixed Greens, Cindy Rucker Gallery, Nancy Margolis Gallery and Arcilesi & Homberg Fine Art in New York, and Kunstforeningen GL STRAND in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her work is included in the collection of the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, and has been featured in New American Paintings. In 2016 she will be an artist in residence and will have a solo exhibition at Lux Art Institute.
Please join us for an artist’s reception for This Meant Nothing @ Arts +Leisure on Thursday, May 28th from 7-10pm. Refreshments will be served. Narrett’s artist book of the same title will be offered for sale, 30$ unsigned and 40$ signed. For more information or to purchase a book please contact Nick Lawrence by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.