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Sun Systems - Samantha Mc Curdy

Opening Reception
Location: Galleri Urbane

Returning for her second solo exhibition with Galleri Urbane, Samantha McCurdy presents Sun Systems. The exhibition includes a new collection of the artist’s signature shaped paintings created by stretching spandex fabric over concealed objects to generate forms that reach out beyond the standard, rectilinear picture plane. In contrast to McCurdy’s previously created objects that have referenced the human body, including those in her 2018 exhibition Personal Boundaries, this body of work invites viewers to consider them in relation to celestial bodies of the universe. 

Presenting an installation that references the Sun, planets, moons, dwarf planets, and black holes, McCurdy is driven by an interest in mankind’s quest to understand the mysteries of outer space. Despite the limited knowledge it can procure due to unfathomable physical distance and unseen forces, man persistently seeks answers. She sees this condition akin to viewers’ desires to discern the construction of her work: thin, painted spandex hides the mechanisms that create each object’s protrusions, yet an urge to uncover what lies beneath remains. A fascination with these boundaries, whether physical or mental, micro or macro, remains at the core of McCurdy’s practice.

All of the known planets in our Solar System are represented in Sun Systems. As in nature, the installation is anchored by the largest entity, the Sun, and surrounded by interpretations of each planet from Mercury to Pluto. The single and multi-panel wall sculptures reflect each entity’s characteristics, ultimately captured through a deliberate execution of minimal form and color. Neptune, for instance, is represented in Faint Ring in Liquid Ice (2019). Alluding to the ice planet’s barely-visible rings, a circular disc juts out at an angle, its rim forming a ring that swoops out and returns to vanish beneath the cool, lavender-blue surface. The spandex in other works referencing black holes is stretched back through the support, creating a spherical void in the object. McCurdy increases the complexity of form found in many of these works, introducing nuanced parabolic curves and pieces that both protrude and retract in a singular composition. This direction serves as a testament to the ever-expanding development of her craft.

Sun Systems is an inquiry into our perception of things known and unknown, seen and unseen. As the atmosphere serves to be a thin veil that separates our ability to experience first-hand and understand what lies beyond, so does McCurdy’s expert use of spandex. Even so, her paintings continue to ignite curiosity and a longing to delve deeper.