Gail Spaien

Gail Spaien paints the world as she would like it to be. In doing so, she ponders the idea that denial is a productive mechanism — an anesthetic for extreme emotional experience. Donning rose-colored glasses in an attempt to reframe discomfort, she suggests her desire for, but also the impossibility of such idealized conditions.

Chronicling the passage of time and the beauty of the landscape outside her studio window in the coastal New England neighborhood where she lives, Spaien unifies the content of her work around the cycles of nature and domestic activity. Her images speak to the contradictions and poignancy of daily life and touch on themes of well-being and mortality, pleasure, loss and the balance of living.

Carefully composing and layering on each painting in a way that consciously echoes the laborer gardening, embroidering, gathering and arranging, Spaien's images evoke domestic routine as contentment. Placement is exacting. Paradise is frozen. She curates an idealized and intentionally artificial situation, suspending pleasure indefinitely only to find that even with rose-colored glasses on there is always a sliver of reality in the periphery beyond the edge of the glass.