NURTUREart presented a solo exhibition by artist Siobhan McBride: Never While You’re Sleeping… . McBride’s paintings expose a visual code of tangible fragments and delusions that kindle slippery and mercurial memories. Rooms, furniture, and landscapes feel familiar and strange, creating places you might end up if you had no particular destination in mind. Through scenes that are quotidian and mundane in nature, a non-linear story emerges.
The paintings feel cordoned off, with sound tamped out, and although there is stillness, McBride’s compositions threaten to shift and collapse, elements tenuously and momentarily clinging together. There is a sense of distraction, a glance into a terrarium, a particular incidence of leaf litter, sunlight, and static. Here and there, surgical incisions delineate clear, taped off shapes that feel like they have been transplanted into the painting or could peel away, leaving a hole in the reality of the image, infusing the most topically docile with a sense of unease and anxiety.
McBride’s work tells elusive stories, fables without discernible lessons. The paintings are, in the artist’s words, “…simultaneously, diagrams for understanding events from the past, and puzzles to decode experiences not yet had.” All elements, objects, spaces, passages of paint have an awareness, and act as characters, each with intention and temperament. Every frozen view is a tableau vivant, everything has the potential to influence anything else, even emptiness. These competing intentions, agendas, factors of attraction and repulsion, create tension, a quiet and communal knowing. They remind us of the potential for things to be hidden in plain sight, that the painted image is very much alive and infinitely multiplying.