Gail Spaien paints the world as she would like it to be. In doing so she ponders the idea that denial is a productive state — a buffering mechanism that creates a momentary pause. Donning rose-colored glasses is an anesthetic for extreme emotional experience. As an adaptive strategy, denial sustains resilience, reframing reality through the construction of a desired view.
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 composes images that evoke domestic routine as contentment. Placement is exacting. Space, light and air movement are frozen. She curates an idealized and intentionally artificial situation - suspending pleasure indefinitely. As a personal, social and political reflection her paintings function as a site that filters out disturbance. Comfort is imposed as a way to expose discomfort and ultimately suggest that even with rose-colored glasses on there is always a sliver of reality in the periphery just beyond the edge of the glass.