Article by Lucia Love in New York // Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016.
Creation of one’s own utopian vision is a distinctly noble endeavor fraught with complications of circumstance, such as having to share the world with pessimistic bores. The evolution of social contracts which allow civilization to grow in density and moral complication maintain a dialectical relationship to spectral histories of imagined paradise in all of its idealized simplicity. Gossamer worlds which collect high notes of pleasure, equality, timelessness, bounty, and innocence are given heed in the realm of art. Canvases become pathways to Arcadia or to a Messianic Age detailed through centuries of domination and conquest, as obscured footpaths between the battlefields. These windows serve to remind us that no matter how much concrete we have poured around ourselves, it is still possible to envision its surfaces reclaimed by verdant playgrounds for nymphs and satyrs.
Juwelia’s works, currently showing at Jack Hanley Gallery, detail a paradise populated with a mixture of these fantastical elements. Spaniels favored by King Charles and immortalized in Staffordshire, share the same garden as chilled bottles of Moet favored by Biggie, alongside lounging and frolicking nudes who occasionally forgo their flowered modesty. The only food needed here is towering cake, and the only notes of violence are the occasional knife to a pig. Male and female figures are seen in harmony lounging amongst vegetation and the occasional yin-yang poodle pairing.
In conjunction with these gestural pastel visions is a book of reproductions printed by Peradam with essays by Elizabeth Jaeger and Juwelia, detailing a permeable boundary between imagination, possibility, and environment. Photos of the artist as performer give evidence to a life led by example, where fishnets and champagne flutes are mirrored in physical and mental planes. Such work becomes a testament to our ability to construct a life of romance when conscious of the freedom our dreams provide. And when they are shared, they become reality.