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Wilding Cran Gallery
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Michelle Blade at Wilding Cran Gallery


In Michelle Blade’s solo exhibition of paintings and drawings at Wilding Cran, everyday life meets the supernatural. In her works, families congregate on shorelines, mothers breastfeed, and a quiet breakfast for one becomes a gateway to an otherworldly landscape. Blade’s 2020 work, “Within the Folds, a Seed / Glendale,” showcases this uncanny environment: a breakfast table overlooks a silvery landscape hemmed-in by lush foliage creeping from the painting’s edges.

Blade’s paintings use fluid acrylic on poplin, which allows for a watery blending and blooming of color. The paints meld into each other to form cosmic outdoor spaces where her figures recline or explore. While her landscapes appear celestial and imagined, they are actually scenes from around Los Angeles —Glendale, Griffith Park, Verdugo Park — that Blade encounters often, transposing them into the divine via her paint application. Yet in some, the quietness of everyday life is foregrounded. In “Between Rupture and Rapture/ Glendale:” (2020), an unassuming bed topped with a patchwork quilt takes up the bulk of the composition. Through two windows, a psychedelic sunset occurs, yet here, the painting seems less concerned with the majesty of nature and more focused on the sweetness found in mundane moments, like the simple enjoyment found in making the bed.