Charlie Roberts at UNTITLED Art Miami Beach 6th December 2023 – 10th December 2023 WOAW Gallery Booth C57 Untitled Art Fair Ocean Dr &, 12th St Miami Beach, FL 33139 United States
WOAW Gallery is delighted to be returning to the 2023 edition of Untitled Art Fair at Miami Beach, presenting a focused exhibition of Charlie Roberts’s new series of paintings this year. In a 2023 interview with the Head of Louisiana Literature Christian Lund for the Louisiana Museum of Art, Charlie Roberts comments on what makes a good painting: “At a certainpoint, you can make an image in Photoshop, and you can copy it perfectly.
Painting likethat is a skill that can be learned. Anybody can figure it out. So, there’s gotta [sic.] besomething else besides the technical side of it.” This acute awareness of what hispredecessors have done in painting and the fungibility of images today punctuates theoriginal energy with which Roberts picks up the brush. With this dichotomy in mind, theartist revisits and reimagines one of the key signifiers of genre painting: the kitchen.
All languages hold dreams, and within the idiom of literature and art, the kitchen not only connotes a space of creation and communion but opens its inhabitant to the promise it holds: a series of adventurers, misunderstandings, and intimacies that can play out within the psychic realm of the site. And it is this narrative that compels Roberts in his new body of work. The artist cites Peter Wtewael’s painting Kitchen Scene (c. 1620) as his point of departure. Contrary to what we might know about the Netherlands in the 16th Century — conservative and religious — Wtewael’s work opens up an erotic space in the mundane. In the painting, a piece of meat hangs between the delivery boy and the woman in the kitchen. The pair are caught mid-laughter — or better said, mid-courtship.
What does it mean to consider this scene in the 21st Century? In CR-30… 23-2 (2023), Roberts presents us a familiar scene. A woman stands at the kitchen counter, preparing the next meal, looking back and laughing at a bored man gazing into his laptop. Between the two are perched a tabletop stemming from the floor and a car emerging from the ceiling. On the man’s screen is a page from the magazine Vulture, wherein an article discusses the Stanley Kubrick film Eyes Wide Shut (1999). The key image of the article is a screenshot from the film, depicting but a step in an increasing obsession the protagonist Bill Harford develops when his wife Alice Harford confesses to having sexual fantasies about other men.
Contrasted with the robust intimacies of Wtewael’s kitchen, Robert’s kitchen reveals a dark and humorous truth about sensuality and familiarity today. Deploying the strange, elongated, and beautifully rendered figures he is known for, in front of us, unfolds an uncanny scene, one wherein alienation from the space we inhabit and immersion into the space we do not exist at the same plane. Roberts suggests that this — this indeterminate, imagined site — is where extant desire makes its play.
In the remainder of the paintings, a peculiar set of descriptive narratives play themselves out: the age-old scene of high-school sweethearts in a pick-up truck as they look at a barren landscape; a lonely knight stands in her modern kitchen holding her helmet in an a loof deliberation; a cruise turns into a set of encounters with movies and memories; a meal cooked with a one-sided smile; or the forgone dream of Coca-Cola as symbol of the American pursuit surrounded by lonely loiterers. Pairing soft nostalgic hues with bright colours, Roberts creates a surreal yet seductive world for us to populate, and with it, reminds us, of the affinity between the technologies of longing and belonging.
Charlie Roberts at UNTITLED Art Miami Beach is on from the 6th of December 2023 until the 10th December 2023
Art Plugged is a contemporary platform inspired by a relationship with the broader arts communities. We provide our audience with curated insight into the world of art, from exhibitions to artist interviews and more.