Carmen Neely: Sometimes a painting is a prayer
May 26 through July 8, 2023
By WM, May 2023
From the press release:
Mariane Ibrahim is pleased to announce the inaugural solo exhibition with Carmen Neely entitled, Sometimes a painting is a prayer. On view from May 26 through July 8, the show is shaped through interwoven dimensions of intimacy, generosity, and risk, with Neely presenting her largest scale painting to date in conversation with lithographic prints of her personal journal pages and several works on paper.
Carmen Neely’s gestures expand her interior landscape into her paintings, creating a visual language of sensuous brushstrokes and decisive lines, animated by forms of asemic writing and literal text.
Sometimes a painting is a prayer ushers Carmen Neely into new territory to envision the scalar expansion of her work. A long bench faces the painting, allowing a quiet encounter to ruminate and lose yourself in the vastness of the piece. She engages the frame of the canvas not as a limit but as an intentional enclosure that asks you to sit with what is found within the edges, and perhaps envision what exceeds them.
This essay opened with Toni Cade Bambara’s question on what it means to be well and the immense weight that comes with the aspiration to make oneself whole. Sometimes a painting is a prayer, is an offering, and an inquiry, beautifully evoking Carmen Neely’s embrace of risk and the generosity imbued in her practice. WM