Solanaceae is the Latin taxonomic term for the nightshade plant species. Nightshades flower in the dark. Nightshades contain alkaloid compounds which have the ability to trigger intense physiological changes in the body. Nightshades, while incredibly nutrient-rich, have a unique capacity to destroy. The Solanaceae class exists in a realm in which darkness and light are not opposed to one another; one in which decay and nourishment exist simultaneously. Marina Perez Simão has always produced work in this sort of realm, one that enmeshes the destructive limitations of the known with the possibilities of the abstract. From January 20th to March 2nd, Simão’s expedition into the realm of light and its transformative absence, Solanaceae, will be on display at Pace Gallery in Los Angeles.
Solanaceae demonstrates a remarkable step in São Paulo-based visual artist’s compositional journey: among the fifteen canvases, throughout which the artist explores generative luminosity against a darker, richer palette than is normally witnessed in her abstract works, two are over twelve feet in width. The large-scale works invite comparison to traditional frescos and murals– mediums which have historically been reserved for scenes that celebrate divinity. Simão, who has recently experimented with Florentine fresco techniques, gestures towards self-contained holiness in her grand landscapes, which seem to vibrate with layered, bioluminescent energy. As such, the exhibition tends to the absurdities of tellurian art: Simão suggests the presence of the sacred, but never consigns it to a recognizable location.
Simão, well known for her tableaus that suggest but never confirm Earthly landscapes, expertly layers a new dimension of history and research atop her kingdom of simulacra in Solanaceae. Coinciding with the 2024 edition of Frieze LA, the show will be accompanied by a new catalog from Pace Publishing, featuring a foreword by the gallery’s Curatorial Director Kimberly Drew, as well as an original essay by SCAD Museum of Art Assistant Curator Brittany Richmond.
Solanaceae is on view now through March 2 at Pace Gallery in Los Angeles.