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February James at Wilding Cran


It’s the last week to check out February James’ solo exhibition at Wilding Cran, (Don’t) Take Me With You. The exhibition consists of paintings, drawings, installation, and sculpture, and draws heavily on James’ personal life: the work mines her childhood, family, and current relationship with her young son. Tender portraits of family and friends utilize washy watercolor so that the faces strategically bleed and blur, heightening the emotional tenor of the work. A small peep hole installed in a gallery wall allows viewers a peek at an interior domestic scene — a composite of James’ childhood memories — where music videos and sitcoms play on a television screen.

Her mother, who recently passed away, is evoked throughout the exhibition as well, particularly in Wish You Were Here, a sculptural work in which a coat similar to the one James’ mother wore is laid in a vitrine and covered with a barrage of address numbers. The work at once details the moving around that James and her family did during her childhood and acts as a delicate homage to her mother’s memory. Framed on one wall near the gallery’s office is a drawing by James’ mother, a delicate and whimsical pencil work of a pig, girl, and gnome gleefully frolicing. 

James balances these memories of her past with defiant and powerful paintings that represent her present, like Us, a playful portrait of James with her son. The painting You Are My other Me, depicts two figures in hazy acrylics that bleed into each other, denoting the porous connection between the two, a commentary on memory and familial connection.

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Photo: February James, Corner Store Shake Down (2021). Image courtesy of the artist and Wilding Cran Gallery. Photo: Wilding Cran Gallery.