Grace Metzler - It’s show time; everyone’s a winner at the end

26 February - 26 March 2022 Taymour Grahne Projects

Taymour Grahne Projects is pleased to present It’s show time; everyone’s a winner at the end, a solo show by New York-based artist Grace Metzler opening Feb. 26 from 4 – 7pm at the Holland Park gallery (10 Portland Road) as part of a joint opening across our 3 spaces. 


Metzler’s painted worlds depict reflective spaces drawn from her own reality. Upon finishing each painting, she describes feeling that "there is a line that runs through me to my paintings… they are an extension of myself". In this latest series, Metzler explores affectionate moments between nude and clothed figures, sometimes indoors, sometimes outdoors, participating in a range of commonplace activities. Whether she paints exterior skies or indoor walls, each are treated with the same vivid colour washes that set the mood for characters to engage with each other or repose in solitary. Metzler's compositions bring to mind the literary phrase ‘pathetic fallacy’, a term for the acknowledgment of humanity in things that are usually non-sentient. Metzler takes this a step further by playing with the notion of pathetic fallacy and reversing it. She imbues fleshed, lively bodies with non-sentient attributes, such as nipples replaced by flowers. This approach creates paintings that are only truly understood by examining each figure from the crown of their heads to the tips of their toes. 


Metzler has a built-in Rolodex of images that she unconsciously paints from: Godzilla and King Kong are two examples. In Friday night skate, characters who enjoy themselves roller-skating are set against a backdrop of a black and white Godzilla film, where Godzilla is shooting fire towards King Kong’s crotch. On second glance at Friday night skate, the roller skaters are not so joyous - one skater grasps their knee to their gut and another skater stands perfectly still. At the time of conception, Metzler did not realise she had painted Godzilla and King Kong before. Metzler finds it overwhelming to think about staying ‘consistent’ and making something ‘new’ each time. Moreover, the repetition of imagery is something the artist feels connected to and a context that encourages dialogue between her paintings.


In all of Metzler's works, there is a sense that the viewer is spying on something private, a perspective that is as nerve-racking as it is thrilling. In Let the synth do all the work, a figure painting in the nude is expelling urine in very close contact to a resting dog. The act can be seen as a bodily expression of freedom and also quite unsettling due to the dog's proximity to a puddle of urine. The second figure in the painting is clothed, normalizing the situation to some degree. The pairing of a clothed person with a naked one suggests a sexual undertone that is subtle yet pointedly awkward. This contrast is a thread woven throughout Metzler's entire body of work: just when the artist pinpoints one sentiment, another peeks out from the shadows.


Metzler sums up the exhibition most poetically by saying "My journey to accepting myself is embedded in the mystery of these characters and my goal is to help the characters feel so comfortable with themselves that they stop apologizing”.


Grace Metzler's work has been exhibited at David Schweitzer Contemporary, New York, NY; Half Gallery, New York, NY; V1 Gallery, Copenhagen; Danese/Corey, New York, NY; Neochrome, Turin, Italy; and Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York, NY, among others. In 2017, she received the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant. She was born in 1989 in New York and holds a BFA from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture and an MFA from Hunter College. The artist currently lives and works in New York.