Grace Mattingly 
Sarah Alice Moran
Curated by Emily Sussman

252 Java Street, Brooklyn, New York
Opening Reception: Friday, September 9th, 2022

Emily Sussman Advisory is proud to present Familiars, featuring the work of Grace Mattingly and Sarah Alice Moran. The public opening of the show is on September 9, 2022 at The Java Project from 6-8pm.

Unapologetically feminine, the works of Sarah Alice Moran and Grace Mattingly shine with a distinctly “girlish” flourish. They operate with a visual lexicon commonly associated with women, but in the hands of both Mattingly and Moran, each work is grounded by a sharply skewed look into female potential. Recognizable motifs including shoes, snakes, foxes, and horses serve as a connector to aspects of femininity, evoking a distinct nostalgia for the “girl power” movement aimed at young girls in the 1980s-1990s. Enmeshing in these sugary-colored scenes are allegorical modern-day familiars, substituting the traditional witch as a threat to the patriarchy with a contemporary woman’s emblems of strength and power. Fantastical scenes and neon landscapes illuminate a world where the promises of childhood are fulfilled. Red-hot mountains pulse furiously, webs of deceit are woven, and perhaps, most critically, our animal proxies have anthropomorphized, joining us in our pursuit of equilibrium. In alternate world shave women claimed their realm? Both Mattingly and Moran embrace joyful liberation; the works possess a weightlessness and sensuality bordering on the spiritual. This manifestation of both the animal and the other-worldly suggests a shift in power so far only attainable via the imagination. 

Sarah Alice Moran’s work centers the female experience, undercutting the potentially macabre with an air of levity. Elements of the super-natural are ever present, revealing themselves as if in a dream, flitting across the canvas as the intangible and disarming. Harbingers of doom like ghosts, moths, webs, skulls, and eerie elements are presented as welcomed entities, glowing from soft brushstrokes and day-glow colors. These creatures are often set against hopeful symbols, like stars, cityscapes, and rainbows. Moran draws inspiration from tarot and spiritualists like Hilma af Klint; these connections are apparent in her work- each animal and figure in her compositions bridges the gap between the surreal and the grounded. 

Grace Mattingly’s watercolor pieces are dreamy escapes into the fluidity and playfulness of the medium. Vivid colors splash against the page and bleed into each other, creating a luminous and compelling surface. Mattingly’s willingness to improvise and experiment with the medium lends itself to her chosen motifs- snakes, horses, flowers, and sunsets. Horses and snakes occupy a curious role in the works; horses, as a third state of being between humans and the imaginary, and snakes, as an almost biblical symbol of female sexuality and power. A sultry hissing snake is given the same emotional weight as sunny flowers, ushering the viewer into a world of pleasure where humanity is ever-present but humans are absent. Mattingly’s world is a joyful explosion where emotions and sensuality exist as one. 

Grace Mattingly (b. 1991) is a London-based artist. She has shown at Huxley Parlour in London, Taymour Grahne in London, Sid Motion Gallery in London, Prior Art Space in Berlin, Arusha Gallery in Scotland, Big Pictures in Los Angeles, and elsewhere. Mattingly has been featured in artist publications such as Art Maze Mag and is a recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields grant.Grace received her BA from Columbia University and recently completed her MA at The Slade School of Fine Art.

Sarah Alice Moran (b. 1982, New York) received a BA from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine and an MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston. Her work has been exhibited in group shows at Pratt Institute, Monya Rowe Gallery, 1969 Gallery, FieldProjects, and C24 Gallery, among others. Moran has completed residencies at the Anderson Ranch Art Center in Colorado, the Wassaic Project in New York, and Can Serrat in Spain. Her work has been featured in publications including Brooklyn Magazine and ArtMaze. She is represented by Good Naked Gallery in New York. She lives and works in Brooklyn.

For inquiries, and Appointments: contact Emily Sussman at emilymsussman@gmail.com

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