Intersection belongs to Weaver’s new body of street scenes, in which she casts characters into public space to explore the contradictions embedded within a specific social fabric: who has power, who is powerless; who is revealed, and who is hidden from the gaze of the viewer. In this portrayal of public life within an abstracted city, elastic-limbed pedestrians pass by each other at a bustling crossroads, eyes locked in mutual acknowledgement as a clumsy tangle of limbs gives way to an emotive collapse. Created during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Intersection features vapors and steam that Weaver relates to miasma theory: “the possibility contained in that archaic, incorrect concept of disease to visualize something that everyone fears in a very concrete way—much more so than any of the 3-D renderings of the Coronavirus as a colorful ball with spikes.” Here, Weaver draws influence from WPA murals—”pictures of industry”—and the palpable alienation of the bodies in Caillebotte’s Paris Street; Rainy Day (1877), to underscore interior narrative and struggle while creating a chorality within the picture plane. The tableau taps into the ambiguous, jagged energy of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s street scenes of pre-war Berlin, created during a moment likewise characterized by profound fear and public uncertainty.
Grace Weaver: STEPS, James Cohan, New York, NY, July 15 - September 12, 2020