REGINA REX presents:
Letters Not About Love: EJ Hauser, Nancy Haynes, and Sarah Peters
*****Opening Reception on Saturday, June 9, 7-10pm*****
"You are the city I live in; you are the name of the month and the day."
Victor Shklovsky, a Russian poet living in exile in Berlin, fell in love with Alya. He wrote her numerous letters per day; the single constraint she imposed was that he must not write about love. He wrote about mourning, nationhood, exile, dreams, his wardrobe, history, banal activities but never about love. The predetermined constraint-- the forbidden subject of these letters-- is the very core that holds them together and binds them into a narrative. Even as the unspoken subject permeates each word, it is the absence of the said, the not-saying, that makes a cohesive statement. It is the purposeful avoidance that leads to directness.
Nancy Haynes explores the nature of space and light in non-representational painting. She creates hologram-like fields of color, light to dark (or dark to light), in a range that is at times almost imperceptible and monochromatic. The work is pregnant with what is unseen, unsaid, concealed but implied. Nancy speaks about the "presence of an absence." The spectre of a subject never seen is always hovering at the edge. Her reductive thinking about painting gets to an essential definition, without all the adjectives.
EJ Hauser operates in multiple modes of painting unified by a poetic suspense. Phrase paintings such as "Staggering loans" and "Cock A Doodle Doo" and portraits of Walt Whitman in quick, ghostly lines purposefully leave the viewer to discern what is not there. Identity, history, awe of the written word, the passion for looking: all of these notions are present in this rich and broad painting practice Hauser has cultivated. Hinting, suggesting, and insinuating, the paintings invite us to visit with them many times. Staying with them and letting them whisper, the viewer is taken to depths of the poetic.
Sarah Peters's bronze portraits depict American outcasts, idealists, extremists, zealots, and visionaries. From early colonists to late 20th century religious cults, these are the believers who blindly follow conviction to extreme ends. Her heads, familiar from history but slightly strange, warp our expectations of traditional bronze busts. They are vessels for narrative, but it's left to the viewer to fill in the story. They are magnificent symbols heavy with implications, charged with touch and process, yet silent with hollow holes for eyes. Again it is the absent element that is most present, and through the absence we are invited to see.