Shona McAndrew

CHART is pleased to present Haven, an exhibition of new works by Shona McAndrew. Occupying both floors of the gallery, McAndrew will debut nine new paintings and seven new watercolors.

With this body of work, McAndrew explores the significance for a woman to create her own safe haven and to invite someone to share that space. The artist was inspired by British “Conversation Pieces”, a sub-genre of 18th and 19th century European portraiture colloquially known as “gossip paintings”. These paintings, all painted by men, depicted groups of women in domestic spaces engaged in lighthearted moments of chatter and camaraderie. In “A Good Read” by Guglielmo Zocchi (Italian, b. 1874), two women are seen perusing a small book, both gossiping about its contents. Though these exchanges at the time were deemed shallow, McAndrew sees them as sacred opportunities for women to form deep connections amongst themselves. In “Elise and Leah” (2020), McAndrew portrays a pair of best friends in a similar pose to Zocchi’s, but instead shows an intimate moment of rest and solidarity between the women.

This concept of shared space informed the way in which McAndrew asked women to participate in the work. In the paintings featuring multiple figures, the artist invited her subject to choose another woman to join her in the portrait. By engaging in this game of “art historical telephone”, McAndrew renders a community of women that are free to decide with whom and how their space is occupied, both in the painting and in their own personal lives.

Shona McAndrew (b. 1990) was born in Paris and lives and works in Philadelphia. She holds an MFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BA in Psychology and Painting from Brandeis University. She currently has a solo exhibition, Wednesday Night, on view at Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts at UAB, Birmingham, AL (2021), which traveled from Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, PA (2020). Previous solo exhibitions include CHART, New York, NY (2019); and Spring/Break Art Show, New York, NY (2019). In May, she will debut a new sculptural installation at Art Omi in Ghent, NY.

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