ART ABOUT TOWN
OCHI PROJECTS Stephanie Pryor: Reverie (March 12 – April 16, 2016) Words Shana Nys Dambrot
Stephanie Pryor’s new paintings are technically abstract, but in truth, exist along the border of abstraction and representation, a liminal area Pryor is especially adept at navigating. Though these luminous, strange and engaging pictures follow conventions of landscape, her palette is too intense and distinctive to be exactly natural. This tethers them to an abstract practice through artifice, despite legible references to landscape reinforced in the titles—Sunbeam, Kissyface, Birds’ Nest, Elm, Centennial Pond, Forest Echo and so on. In fact, both images and words directly reference a recent series of landscapes, explicitly depicting a wooded area familiar from her childhood. Pryor’s previous portrait-based works derived their power from the flirty threat of abstractionist incursion into the domain of imagery, specifically clothing and flesh, through the same operations of color wash and diaphanous layering evident in these new non-objective works. The inverse but not the opposite of that dynamic, the results in Reverie are not all that different, whether her figures dissolve into abstraction; or her abstractions create moments of object and story. In geological tumult, meteorological atmosphere, shifting focal plane, low centers of gravity evoking horizons and territories of empty space evoking sky, the
Stephanie Pryor: Reverie. Installation View.