Text by Clare Gemima (photos courtesy of Shelter Gallery)
"Night Moves" by Jacqueline Cedar
Shelter Gallery, 179 East Broadway
"Night Moves" showcases a collection of recently created works by artist and arts educator Jacqueline Cedar for Shelter Gallery's final show of 2021.
After learning that Cedar constructs each of her paintings with somewhat of a theatrical sensibility, the 15 works in the gallery's space turn into a perfectly syncopated yet non-sequential storyboard.
Through protagonists, situationships, and, at times, ominous interiors, "Night Moves" projects "acts" that have appeared for the artist during their time dreaming.
Unrealistically recognizable characters can be seen drowning or wading ("The Plain and the Forest"), relaxing and decompressing ("We Will Touch Our Feet") or stuck in some sort of domestic consternation ("A Huge Crowd of Spectators").
Distorted journeys occur for all of Cedar's actors, frozen in their missions of transporting, gardening or just convincing themselves they are more than somebody's dreams.
Cedar's mostly acrylic works have been realized through a psychologically intuitive process, leading the viewer through a survey of the artist's formalized dreams. By filtering and gathering source inspiration, the artist's discovery is a before and after success and mess.
Is this a 15-part dream or one long, drawn-out nightmare? The satisfaction here is that neither her audience nor the artist herself will ever know the honest answer, simply because these paintings were pre-conceived while unconscious.
Connections in colors, compositions and in some instances a recurring lampshade motif ("Led Me Out and Not Saying So") become more apparent by accident after spending more time with each work. Because all of the paintings in "Night Moves" have been made in the last two months, the audience is spoiled by the vulnerability of Cedar's expression and by the show's fortuitous and "last-minute" cohesion.
By depicting gangly, bendy, and long-limbed figures that stretch, lay or grab under the constraints of her luminous and tiny wood panels, Cedar invites us to indulgently and awkwardly invade her private bubble.
"Night Moves" runs until Dec 22 at Shelter Gallery, 179 East Broadway. Gallery hours: Tuesday-Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.
Clare Gemima is a visual artist and arts writer from New Zealand, now based in the East Village of New York. You can find her work here: claregemima.com