Grace Weaver's Best Life Through Rose-Tinted Filters
The title and subject matter nod to millenials’ rose-tinted online self-curation, tapping into the “fronting culture” facilitated by social media. That is, one’s ability to produce and maintain a façade of continually living their “best life.” You can see it in the Apple MacBook, the shrimp cocktail and polpi dinner date, the polyamorous brand loyalty to Nike shoes and Adidas running tights, the contour kit, and the bi-weekly trips to the favorite watering hole. Although for Weaver’s subjects it is a distinctly middle class set of iconography, fronting is by no means restricted to that.
This series of works marks a shift in Weaver’s painting technique from oil to acrylic. The immediacy of acrylic, an uncompromising medium requiring well-formulated compositions is not dissimilar to the immediacy of certain social media tools that too require users to pre-plan their “spontaneous” content. Like acrylic, the Instagram snapshot is no casual matter and that spur-of-the-moment #mycalvins post was a carefully composed and considered undertaking.
Weaver’s figures are loud, rounded and dominant, they are center stage in tequila sunrise palettes. They eat healthy servings of avocado toast, maintain a steady workout regime, pull their hemlines up and let their hair down. But for all their attention seeking, they are nonchalant in their expressions and lethargic in their gestures, indifferent side eyes and slumped shoulders aplenty. Their body language showing various hallmarks of dissatisfaction, speaks to the pernicious nature of social media’s pressure to keep up with the Joneses. As, for all the gild of this so-called “best life,” none of them look like they are particularly enjoying it.
BEST LIFE is on view at James Cohan Gallery through October 28, 2018.