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Ariana Papademetropoulos at Jeffrey Deitch
September 4, 2021 - October 23, 2021
In “The Emerald Tablet” at Jeffrey Deitch, artist Ariana Papademetropoulos builds context around her own effervescent and dreamy paintings. A gallery in the front of the space presents five new works by the artist, while the remainder of the expansive exhibition, curated by Papademetropoulos, builds a robust conversation around mysticism.
The artist’s own large scale paintings are beautifully rendered scenes in which apparitions act as portals to other dimensions (figures are rendered next to transparent doubles and majestic orbs float across Martian landscapes). From there, the exhibition delves into alchemy and the occult, though the general feeling is buoyant, made clear by the rainbow color palette used by many of the artists, such as Raúl de Nieves’ blissful merry-go-round, in which beaded fantastical beings ride in endless circles.
A grotto in a back gallery — which is noted in the exhibition checklist as “The Emerald City” and is anchored by a delightful pairing of Agnes Pelton and Mike Kelley — plays up the Hollywood narrative that the exhibition also toys with. Dramatic lighting, a scenic painting, and prop-like boulders create a film set aura, allowing the artworks to become characters within the scene. A soundscape for this inner sanctum by Beck and Molly Lewis was commissioned to fully flesh out the mystical fantasy.
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Photo: Ariana Papademetropoulos, “Origins,” 2021. Oil on canvas, 84 x 120 inches. Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles, 2021. Photography by Joshua White.