Simone Meltesen’s Pattern Recognition – Reception @ Space 1026

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Simone Meltesen’s Pattern Recognition – Reception @ Space 1026

May 5, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

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May 1st – 26th 2017

“My paintings are explorations of lesbian feminist formalism. Rooted in the modernist weaving designs of the Bauhaus and the 1970s feminist reclamation of domestic patterning, these paintings insist on a queer both/and reading, positioning the viewer as lesbian, while the visual motif of plaid functions as a way to insert the lesbian body and lesbian desire into abstraction. The stereotype of plaid flannel as a lesbian fashion statement functions as a sardonic in-joke in the lesbian community, as an expression of lesbian panic among straight women, and is intended as an insult when used heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. The plaids in my paintings also reference the grid, and its importance to fabric and weaving (the literal warp and weft of the canvas).

“Pattern Recognition,” the main installation in this show, consists of over 50  11”x14” paintings, all on unprimed linen. They are part of an open-ended series of modular pattern paintings that I call “swatches.” 

The swatches are endlessly interchangeable and reconfigureable. Currently they are hung in a grid, but they could also be hung in a long row, in sets of varying numbers, or alone – though they exist as modular pieces of a whole, they also function as individual paintings. The modularity of each swatch, along with the installation in a grid structure, creates a nonhierarchical display system – each painting is equal.  Additionally, there is no “correct” way to hang the swatches – in fact, I have asked the organizer of this show to re-configure this installation partway through the exhibition, to activate the modular-ness of the swatches and create new relationships between the patterns and colors on each swatch.  

The vertical orientation of the swatches references portraiture and identity. The size also references early Netherlandish portraiture, in particular the paintings of Jan Van Eyck, which were often no larger than 10-12 inches on their longest side, but project an psychological intimacy that reaches out of the picture plane and into the viewer’s space. I think of this as a domestic intimacy – these small portrait paintings were not made to be hung in palaces, nor in churches, but in the home. I have made these swatches a small size so they can fit in the home of the average city dweller, who generally does not have a huge amount of wall space to give up to heroically large paintings. Additionally, the swatches are priced with a great deal of thought given to affordability. 

1 swatch = $400
2 swatches= $600
4 swatches = $1000
6 swatches = $1200

Other paintings, specifically those depicting a rolling eye, add to the “raised eyebrow” motif that I’ve worked with for the past few years. The eye roll serves to reify the single swooping stroke of the raised eyebrow, the lesbian subject both raising her eyebrows and rolling her eyes at normative culture of all varieties. The lesbian subject, often theorized as ghostly or appariitional, is fully embodied in these canvases, where she is evoked as a witness and spectator, observing our current culture with humor and skepticism.” -Simone Meltesen


May 5, 2017
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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Space 1026
844 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19130 United States
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