Serial Killer Land
Big Drawings by Bela Shayevich
April 8 - May 7, 2017Press Release
Open Hours: Friday – Sunday, Noon – 3PM
Carpark, public restroom, airport, vacant lot: Bela Shayevich renders these spaces with love and horror. Lyric detail mixes with compulsive execution to unmask the false neutrality of manufactured public places. In doing so, her large-scale colored pencil drawings reveal fantasies both dark and enthralling in a tradition akin to landscape painting.
Each drawing depicts a real, unconsidered world, from the Philadelphia 30th Street Station’s women’s restroom to a parking structure at LAX. Figures populate the scenes as facets rather than characters, simultaneously made and unmade by their surroundings. In their cartoon vernacular, they challenge the “correct” purpose of public space as defined by normative constraints on American bodies. Use the public restroom – but not for that. Park your car, but definitely remove your self. You’re welcome here until you’re not. Meanwhile, spaces free of capitalist policing, as in Serial Killer Land, proffer the shadow of reprieve – just don’t die out there.
Reaching out to us in warm gray PrismaColor, Shayevich transmits a bleak and vivid vision of the American present: deadening, but teeming with life.
“Before I apprehend these places as ‘artefacts of an oppressive society’, I experience them as scary and upsetting. I feel anxious at the airport, dirty in a public restroom, depressed but free in a parking lot. The fear precedes any intellectual or moral verdict. In terms of how this plays out in my drawing, I see drawing the patterns that form these places as a game where I am given a boring task and test whether or not I can perform it. Invariably, I cannot. In the same way, I can’t remain calm around endless expanses of fake-sterile tiled surfaces – so easily do tiles morph into cages, though imperfectly[…]The way I bring things to light might simply come from my physical inability to see or draw the world the way it wants to be seen.” — from a conversation between Bela Shayevich and Maren Miller, March 24th 2017.
On April 29th, Shayevich’s show will close with the release of her comic, Doing-It-Softly, XO: Contract Killer, which will be screened with musical accompaniment by her band, Gay Peasant.