Hallie McNeill and Natalie Westbrook
In this two-person exhibition featuring new work by Hallie McNeill and Natalie Westbrook, the gallery becomes a stage for insatiable desires. The theatrical juxtaposition of McNeill’s sculptural work and Westbrook’s paintings on paper evokes ideas of consumption, desire and possession played out in a somber grisaille palette.
Upon entering the space, the viewer is encircled by the looking eyes of Westbrook’s paintings, returning an outward gaze. Through the opposing forces of trompe l’oeil representation and gestural graffiti-like abstraction, the figures appear physically embedded within their own image. Unlike the tradition of the canvas as a pictorial window or physical surface for material application, the paper acts as a somatic and psychological trap for the represented figure. Bodies appear sandwiched within the paper and paint itself, caught like flies in a spider web, possessed by their own making. The artist asks, “What does it mean to be trapped within a painting?”
McNeill’s sculptural work reflects a landscape of shifting dynamics of ownership and accomplishment: goals as traps, hopscotch-esque or chess-like grids to navigate, and emotive depictions of possessive pronouns. The palette of brass, silver, and gray speak to coinage, hardware, and architecture while the hand-built ceramic, cement surfaces, and netting reflect the tedium of craft and labor. The works question how we continually negotiate and renegotiate what we aspire and lay claim to – and the resultant emotions – on an interpersonal level as part of our exhaustive and never-ending, internalized to-do lists.
About the Artists:
Hallie McNeill is a Brooklyn-based artist and writer. She received her BA from Bennington College and her MFA from the Department of Sculpture and Extended Media at Virginia Commonwealth University. Past exhibitions include solo shows at Weekend Projects, The Fort, and daab Oak. She has written for BOMB and Lookie-Lookie. McNeill currently teaches at Pratt Institute.
Natalie Westbrook received her BFA from The Cooper Union, her MA in Critical and Curatorial Studies from the University of Louisville, and her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from the Yale University School of Art where she received the Robert Schoelkopf Memorial Travel Grant, and the Carol Schlosberg Memorial Prize for Excellence in Painting. Westbrook has exhibited internationally, including exhibitions with Rarity Gallery, Mykonos, Greece; Galleri Golsa, Oslo, Norway; Artformosa, Taipei City, Taiwan; Paris Contemporary Art Show, Paris, France; Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY; CRUSH Curatorial, New York, NY; Interstate Projects, Brooklyn, NY; the B3 Biennial of the Moving Image in Frankfurt, Germany; and Wonzimer Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. The artist’s work is held in private and public collections, including Markel Corporation, Red Bank, NJ; Capital One, Richmond, VA; and Art Bank Program, US Department of State, Washington, DC; and Haleakala National Park, Maui, HI. Westbrook lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA.