Backlit by a wall of windows, Grace Weaver painted her summer away. When I visit her in August, the sun floods in—casting hazy highlights over her already blaring palettes of pink, tangerine, purple, red and yellow. “I gave myself a rubric with each one,” she says staring at the stretchers her boyfriend builds from the neat stacks of lumber on the floor. “I can’t use pink on this one. It’s important to resist your impulses sometimes I think.”
The idiosyncrasies of Weaver’s visual language shine through regardless. Her rounded figures conferring, running, drinking, loving are easily picked out for their distinctive, stick-figure charm. The lines that construct their frames come from the long uninterrupted passes made by the artist’s homemade paint markers. “When I start a line I have to see it through,” she says, “When I made the switch from oil to acrylic I had to embrace the singular stroke and abandon the idea of perfection. It changed the way I paint for the better.”
Weaver’s new paintings argue her point. They are every bit as bombastic and complicated as previous work but with a heightened sense of risk and play—a quality that is mirrored by its subject matter. The new suite pulls on imagery of leisure: a couple having a drink, a park full of runners and their inert counterparts, a salon. The paintings radiate a sense of ease and interconnectedness. When asked about the narrative, Weaver shrugs off such a linear reading; in her estimation the compositions speak to each as one might around a dinner party. Part of this dialogue is formal. Weaver’s painting draws attention to the different techniques she uses—many of which are enabled by the brushes she creates.
She holds aloft a mega brush responsible for wide striped shirt of one larger-than-life figures. “I like to change up the mark-making,” Weaver says, “It’s been a new experience to leave behind the evidence of the brush rather than reworking and polishing.”
The artist’s stray drips and streaks pave the way into her studio process—offering her viewer an unprecedented vantage from which one can observed the joy Weaver takes in her movements. This desire to share her exuberance comes through the title of her James Cohan debut, “BEST LIFE.”
Of course, like the paintings, not everything is so neat. “BEST LIFE” is at once genuine and perhaps a bit sly. The checked out expressions of her figures losing themselves in their phones or thoughts cause a double take. Is vacation as simple as it seems?