Naomi Alessandra: Impossible Tasks
November 2 – 25, 2020
Impossible Tasks represents a (partial) taxonomy of the love experience. Each of the 17 paintings in the exhibition correspond with a fragment from Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse (1977), in which the author describes 80 specific aspects of how a lover perceives the structure of his or her desire for the loved object. As this painting series unfolded over the tumult of 2020, the work shifted from being solely about romantic love to also become a holistic meditation on love’s role in society—its function as a moral principle that can positively impact policy and the social contract, but also the factional tribalism, discriminatory hierarchies, and vengeful actions that often claim love as their cause. The title of the exhibition refers to a standard folklore trope in which a hero or heroine, in order to prove his or her love, is asked to perform tasks that seem utterly impossible. These tasks are then usually miraculously completed, reaffirming love’s value despite its trials and terrible odds.
About the Artist
Influenced by literature, current events, and human connectivity, Naomi Alessandra documents symbols of identity and culture to create allegories of modern life. Her process involves pouring, brushing, and dredging fluid pigments on paper to build up mottled layers of form, using linework to create semi-permeable boundaries designed to open conversations about containment. Her work interrogates structures of storytelling and the production of meaning. Naomi is the recipient of the 2020 Pirkle Jones Visual Artist Support Program grant, and was 2017/18 Max Thelen Artist in Residence at Art Works Downtown in San Rafael. She lives and works in Marin County.Click on the image to see a larger view.