March 12 - May 14, 2022
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 12, 6-8 pm
Rachel Uffner Gallery is pleased to present Warmly, the third exhibition at the gallery by Los Angeles-based painter Hilary Pecis. Continuing her invigorated explorations of genres including still lifes, landscapes, and domestic interiors, the paintings in Warmly depict colorful, light-infused scenes that have been distilled by Pecis’ careful attention to the sensory pleasures of everyday life. Rendered at a larger scale than her previous works, these new paintings provide ample pictorial space for the artist (and viewers) to delight in the sheer visual and textural variety of intimate scenes such as a backyard picnic; a crowded, well-considered bookshelf; and a cozy living room enlivened by textile patterns, houseplants, and a wall of artworks hung salon-style. Like an anecdote in a diary or a letter to a close friend, each painting evokes an intensely subjective experience heightened by saturated color, unconventional perspectives, and passages of loose, expressionistic rendering.
While their imagery is largely based on snapshots taken by Pecis at her home, in her studio, and while running or traveling, direct representation is not the primary goal of these paintings, much less any sort of photorealism. A subtle psychological quality animates what may first appear as straightforward representation. Interacting shadows, shapes, and colors coalesce to form dynamic visual rhythms in a manner that recalls the works of Henri Matisse, the Fauvists, and German Expressionists such as Gabriele Münter and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.
Although Pecis avoids depicting the human figure, the objects in her paintings—especially recurring elements such as books, artworks, and flowers—indirectly portray the artist and her friends and family through their detailed suggestions of sensibilities, personalities, and aspirations. The thick tomes of Dante, Chaucer, and Shakespeare shown in the painting Clementine’s Bookshelf, for example, indicate a particular sort of person, a whole unseen backstory contained within a moment of casual observation. Pecis also affectionately cites her own artistic influences by including images of art books and artworks within her paintings, such as a painting by Münter shown in an open book on a tabletop near books on Paul Cézanne and Nell Blaine.
In her landscapes and exterior scenes, Pecis similarly identifies the idiosyncrasies that lend certain locations a distinctive character. Her enthusiasm for painting letters and text—a defining feature of her depictions of books and bookshelves—finds a new context in a painting of a roadside sign for a drive-in theater and swap meet. In the painting Di Palo's, a shop window, viewed from outside, frames hanging pieces of meat and large rounds of cheese with letters imprinted in their outer wax. Regardless of their setting or subject matter, the common impulse that unites all of Pecis’ paintings is the artist’s deep reverence for looking, her ability to render in paint the sincere joy and satisfaction she finds in paying attention to the world around her.
In addition to the exhibition, Rachel Uffner Gallery is pleased to present a new monograph for the artist, produced in partnership with Gregory R. Miller & Co. This publication marks the first in-depth survey of Pecis’s work. Beautifully designed by Mike Dyer, the book features new essays by Johanna Fateman (“Every Day but Sunday”) and Lily Stockman (“A Place I’d Like to Live: Thoughts on the Paintings and Practice of Hilary Pecis”) as well as more than 50 full-color reproductions. Hilary Pecis will be distributed worldwide by Artbook | D.A.P. and will soon be widely available in stores and online. Advance copies can be purchased via the gallery.
Hilary Pecis (b. 1979, Fullerton, CA) earned a BFA and MFA from the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA. Recent solo exhibitions include Art in Focus, Art Production Fund, Rockefeller Center, NY; Timothy Taylor Gallery, London; Spurs Gallery, Beijing, China; The Crisp-Ellert Museum, St. Augustine, FL, among others. Pecis has also participated in many prominent group exhibitions at venues such as the Los Angeles County Art Museum; the Columbus Museum of Art, OH; Jack Shainman School, curated by Helen Molesworth, Kinderhook, NY; David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles; The Nassima-Landau Project, Tel Aviv, Israel; and the GANA Art Center, Seoul, South Korea, among others. Pecis has work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; National Gallery, Washington DC; Columbus Museum of Art, OH; Berezdivin Collection, Puerto Rico; Aishti Foundation, Beirut; Yuz Museum, Shanghai; Zhuzhong Museum, Beijing, among others. Pecis currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.