SITUATIONS is proud to present Tiny Melody Chamber, British artist Faye Wei Wei’s first solo exhibition in New York.
Faye Wei Wei, Odeon Clock, 2023, Oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches (51 x 40.7 cm)
SITUATIONS is proud to present Tiny Melody Chamber, British artist Faye Wei Wei’s first solo exhibition in New York. On view will be new oil paintings and drawings made in the artist's distinctive, gestural style. Interweaving references drawn from lived experience, literature, art history, and culture at-large, Wei Wei takes a lyrical approach to figuration, creating complex yet open-ended narratives each a world unto itself.
A nonchalant cast of personas inhabit the spacious compositions of Wei Wei’s works, seen kissing, singing, slumbering or else looking outward to return the viewer’s gaze. Raiki (2023) centers on a karaoke performer, swaying and dancing under the icy heat of spotlight. Gossamer veils of sepia, slate blue, and lavender reveal snippets of other figures in the room before enveloping her silhouette, sparingly rendered in contrasting marks, ranging from gauzy to crisp before bleaching out. The golden glow of the microphone bounces gently off her cheek in profile, a poignant gesture that draws the eye and underscores a certain emotional import, a moment in time encapsulated.
An outlined figure in repose features prominently in two paintings, Magi and Moon Men (both 2023), appearing to float overhead. The former depicts an ethereal, introspective vision, as clusters of mushrooms and blooms crane longingly skyward. Wei Wei moves her brush with a swift spontaneity, layering thin washes of umber and crimson that flow through the figure, keeping drips intact to subvert the divide between the picture plane and the painting surface. Moon Men depicts a similar figure whose limbs intertwine with the shape of a giant eye. A woman’s face peers outward as its iris, surrounded by a pink thistle and a billowing, white haze. Discrete symbols come together to shape a chimeric allegory, opening onto numerous interpretations.
Collectively, the paintings embrace a keyed-up color palette amongst more subdued hues, casting flashes of acidic green, magenta, Cadbury purple, and other unexpected tones, fervent inflections of mood as in the red flicker of a snake’s tongue in the portrait Jessie (2023), or the pulsing neon glow of Odeon Clock (2023).
A suite of drawings reveals the artist at her most direct, tender, and inventive. Loosely limned, intimate portrayals show the artist’s coterie up close, each shift in pressure and line seeming to offer a glimpse into their inner worlds. Stripped down to their most fundamental details, Wei Wei’s pictures are as imbued with feeling as they are formally rigorous.