Brandi Twilley’s paintings in the current exhibition, Where the Fire Started, at Sargent’s Daughters have already garnered significant praise. John Yau, for example, skillfully made the case for the honesty of the work and its lack of sentimentality. The paintings, which mainly feature the home Twilley grew up in until it burnt to the ground when she was 16, depict windows in a subtly astute manner. They function as portals in curious ways: they indicate the painter’s glimpse of spaces beyond the bleak circumstances of that house, and in seeing the significance of these spaces through Twilley’s hand, I identify with her and wish for that slim chance of escape.
In looking at “Smokey on the Yellow Chair” (2016), I’m really trying to look out of it, because the room has such a miasma of chaos that it is one of the few places my vision can settle on and not despair. Most things in sight — the walls, floors, chairs, and plywood barriers placed over two other windows — are marred with stains as if a wave of grease had arced into the house and splashed down to permeate the surfaces here and there. Aside for the bed covered with a blue tarp that appears to have protected the very young Twilley from water that leaked from the ceiling, there is a general mood of labored indifference to the entire house. Yet, in the little corner of the window that evades the tacked-up cloth imitating a curtain, the miasma lifts a little. There, I see a deeply cerulean, evening blue, that is another space, even another dimension in which things might not always founder toward destruction. I see the escape Twilley sees and I wish it for her.
The transportive properties of her windows are made more evident in “Window” (2016), where, past a plywood bar that bisects the view, lies a blue that must have been dreamed up. It’s a deeper and richer tone than what appears in the print copies from Picasso’s Blue Period that are stuck to her wall and a cabinet. So the imagined getaway is not synonymous with the transporting qualities of art. It’s something else; I’m not sure what. There’s escape here, these pictures say, if you can but reach it. A twilight window will let you through.
From art fairs to alternative spaces that may not be on your radar, here’s a run-down of what to see (and eat and sip) in Miami. No NFTs, we promise.
Protests are erupting across the country in response to President Xi Jinping’s strict zero-COVID policy.
Join the New-York Historical Society on December 9 for a virtual conversation with Kellie Jones, Rujeko Hockley, and Cameron Shaw on the past, present, and future of Black art in the US.
What does it mean when the world’s richest person trolls us?
Ghenie’s paintings of Marilyn Monroe are a relentless representation of a howling, turbulent tragedy, a face broken into crude sideways slewings and gougings and gorgings of paint.
The unique MFASA at the Institute of American Indian Arts offers mentorships with world-renowned Indigenous artists, flexible schedules, and access to one of the US’s cultural capitals.
What feels like the right way to write about Roman Catholicism, or Christian iconography, to most art critics is heavily influenced by museum discourse, which is far from neutral.
A group exhibition at the Americas Society investigates ideas of paradise, approaching the Caribbean region as a product of the visitor economy regime.
Visual artists who incorporate psychedelics into their practices maintain a foundational understanding that there is more to reality than meets the eye.
Many in the local Ukrainian community want the museum’s name to be changed to reflect the many artworks in its collection by artists from former Soviet states.