Ariana Papademetropoulos: Unweave a Rainbow at Vito Schnabel Projects




Ariana Papademetropoulos, Curse of the Boys with Butterfly Tattoos, 2020
Oil on canvas. 84 x 108 1/2 inches (213.4 x 275.6 cm) © Ariana Papademetropoulos; Photo by Flying Studio; Courtesy the artist and Vito Schnabel Projects

Vito Schnabel Projects will present Ariana Papademetropoulos: Unweave a Rainbow, the first New York City solo exhibition for the Los Angeles-based artist. Unweave a Rainbow will debut a new series of large-scale works by the artist, in which she mingles images of natural phenomena with her meditations on interiors as analogs. The exhibition will also feature new small-scale additions to her ongoing series of ‘symbolist’ paintings.

ArianaPapademetropoulos Espulsione dalla discoteca, 2020. Oil on canvas, 90 x 120 inches (228.6 x 304.8 cm) © Ariana Papademetropoulos. Photo by Flying Studio, Courtesy the artist and Vito Schnabel Projects

Unweave a Rainbow takes its title from the work of nineteenth-century English poet John Keats, who denounced physicist and astronomer Sir Isaac Newton for emptying rainbows of their poetry by explaining in scientific terms the phenomenon of refraction and its effects on human visual perception. Keats felt such information undermined the pleasure of seeing a rainbow in the sky by “reducing it to prismatic colors.” In spite of being thus unwoven, the rainbow persists as a symbol of childlike hope and future promise. Its meaning is bound between spiritual interpretation and scientific discovery, much as Papademetropoulos’ painting is bound between depiction and suggestion, realism and fantasy.

Papademetropoulos will transform the gallery’s space into a total environment, an enclosed sensual world of plush orange carpeting and sculptural modular floor cushions comprising rainbows. The velvet cushions, arranged in the corners of the room, can be taken apart and moved around, intended for viewers to lounge on the unwoven rainbow while taking in the prismatic color and uncanny content of her paintings. Visitors will find themselves in one of the artist’s constructed scenes, while the paintings become portals into other worlds, much like Papademetropoulos’ bubbles.

Ariana Papademetropoulos is known for exploring the psychological effects of interiors and domestic spaces. Evoking a sense of shifting realities and parallel worlds, she depicts dream-like hyperreal scenes of lavish rooms that are often eerily empty of human presence. The surface of her imagery is usually ruptured by a large, soft-focus watermark or spill that introduces alternate dimensions of dazzling color. By piercing the illusion of her own underlying composition, Papademetropoulos captures the experience of awakening from a vivid but elusive dream, to find oneself still teetering between parallel realities. In the new paintings on view in Unweave a Rainbow, the watermarks and spills of earlier canvases are replaced by large bubbles that hover somewhat ominously in the visual frame and transport the viewer to a place and time beyond the painting’s basic subject matter. Enigmatic but insistent, these apparitions suggest a state of reverie animated by nostalgia.

Ariana Papademetropoulos: Unweave a Rainbow will be on view from October 1, 2020 through January 16, 2021 at Vito Schnabel Projects, 43 Clarkson Street, NYC.