Chart Gallery // September 06, 2019 - November 02, 2019
Our bodies have been a source of fascination before Art even had a name, and nude painting and sculpture forms emerged early on as forms of expression. Most of those nudes tended to be regally rendered, almost luxurious in their surrounding, the subjects themselves, often a kind of muse bathed in wealth and pulchritude.
Which is why we are so intrigued by the works of Shona McAndrew and her debut NYC solo show, Muse, on view at Chart Gallerythrough November 2, 2019. Her subjects are placed in contemporary settings, with bedrooms in disarray and tattooed bodies rather rosy alabaster. She, in fact, expresses ownership of self, the freedom of not being posed or examined for portraiture, but in appreciation of those moments when the inner-self indulges in the comfort of their surroundings.
As the gallery notes: Tied to the idea of women’s personal spaces, harems are a constant explored by the artist in this body of work. The etymology of the word “harem” derives from the Arabic root ḥaram, ḥarīm, which literally means “prohibited place” “sanctuary” and “women's quarters”. Under the Byzantine Empire, Ancient Greece and Persia, harems served as private spaces for women of the upper classes with the purpose of keeping them protected and secluded so they could tend to the needs of one another without having to resort to men... "I like the idea of these women not realizing that they are just as beautiful or worthy of art history as the women painted in the reference pictures. Casually enacting these historical poses in a domestic space.”