Slow down; savor life’s small moments. It took a global pandemic for many of us to ditch our addiction to busyness and heed this noble, if clichéd, advice. Grace Weaver’s suite of ten new paintings, “Droop,” produced during lockdown, depicts a repertoire of the hitherto unexceptional: taking out the trash, slowly sipping a beer, pulling on a cigarette and relishing the smoke rings. Their titles often conjure distilled sounds, like the plosive breath of Puff Puff, 2021, which portrays a pallid woman watching two clouds of cigarette smoke rise into the air.
Shaped like disks, these puffs wink at Blinky Palermo’s spare monochromatic canvas Grey Disk, 1970, which, once you notice it, crops up continually in the lexicon of these paintings. One is even titled Blinky, a close-up of a person who gazes at an ominous gray-disk-cum-raincloud above. Its essential shape and muted color is echoed in Weaver’s fleshy palette of pink, brown, black, and cream, which markedly counter her typically bright hues. These works are not so loud; they whisper about what life is like behind closed doors.
Weaver’s surfaces are sumptuously worked and, in places, erased and overworked. She uses oil paint thickened with wax and marble dust, applying pigments with construction tools and masonry brushes cut for stiffness. As such, her gestures are decisively textural, not least the two bold brushstrokes that define the buttocks of a modern Sisyphus who climbs the stairs with plastic bags in Droop, 2020. Weaver doesn’t deny the monotony of repetition, but encourages close looking to seek out nuances. She asks us to look for our own gray disks, blank mirrors for the introspection afforded by seclusion.