VULVAS. Boxes and Screens. Sirens With Low Self-Esteem.
Indian Ink on papper, made in Riga. Beginning of 2021. Participated in Group show “My Bitter Sweet Frankenstein Body” gallery KOGO, Turku, Finland.
Sabīne Vernere is an emerging Latvian painter, who has garnered acclaim for her bright and expressive indian ink paintings. Her works capture focused glimpses, observed and experienced scenes that are moulded and animated into her signature achromatic protagonists. A characteristic feature of Vernere’s oeuvre is a deliberate neglect of the background. Akin to surrealist figurines, her characters are caught in a space devoid of matter. The work begins with a clearing of the slate, thereby offering space for contemplation and observation. It is at this moment that the viewer’s attention is fixed onto the unfolding events. The creatures have been caught mid-movement, as if in an interrogative snapshot, inviting to be examined and dissected. They have spread their legs, flashed their curves and have been pinned to the centre of the composition like a toad on a laboratory table, inviting the viewer to pick up the scalpel.
Vernere skilfully isolates her impressions to interpret them anew. Informed by her training as a painter, Sabīne Vernere has focused her investigative lens on bodily and sexual experiences that instead of becoming the key topics of the investigation, serve merely as an extension of the working language. Her paintings of altered body parts, bent joints, exposed erogenous zones, and interwoven limbs derive from the tension between that which can and cannot be verbally expressed. Her subjects often project a surface banality that belies their function as harbours of yet unspoken emotion. The paintings are enacted to evoke a sense of an ever-evolving language whose gradual self-awareness reinforces this incongruity.
Vernere dedicates herself to perfecting this language. Her artistic practice gravitates toward the articulation of novel instruments of expression – an extension of the representation of the cognitive process. It is a magnifying glass that temporarily allows us to see ourselves through processes of dissociation and dislocation. The quirky snapshot of an honest, shameless, uncomfortable and seldom archetypal memory, which hauntingly demands so much, yet is never fulfilled.
Vernere’s practice is focused and controlled; yet, at other times, her paintings appear defiant and flooded in gradients as if pulsating in a primordial ooze – hinting that one is dealing with desire as much as abstention. It is an observation descriptive not only of the displayed works, but also of their performative enactment. Although these works embody a singular apex, the unseen process behind them is one of patient servitude to chance. The artist is granted only a fraction of a moment to control the spread and character of the indian ink on the watered surface. Time is more fleeting than usual. The dance between quickly and unforgivingly drying patches directly paves the way for the manifestation of the subconscious. Let go, leave your body, exit an unrequited mindset, enter another zone.
The ink-fected offshoots attempt to cancel out the dizzying hot mess of vocabulary hitherto projected upon the body. As a fake silhouette spotted by the corner of the eye, Vernere’s images capture bodily forebodings – the pictorial twin of goosebumps, sweaty palms and freshly licked lips. In short, Vernere exudes something other than what our oculo-centric perception encourages – as the line between art and life is dismantled, so does the distance between skin and skin.