17 Dec - 11 Feb, 2023. Paris
Dec 17, 2022 – Feb 11, 2023
1, rue Fromentin
Distorting the limits of ocular and lens based perception, Wasserman renders, or rather unravels, the constraint of single point perspective, of any sort of fixed gender as each brushstroke instigates countless sex changes to build bodies in motion.
Capturing the feeling—eros—of live performance, Wasserman paints during live sittings inviting catalogs of gesture, of light & reflection on the ever shifting, ever stunning, ever desirous, trans body. Grinding against the dangers of panoptic visibility, there is a figurative revelry and rallentando to Wasserman’s work, where, bathed in light, relaxation and falling asleep in a lover’s arms become possible.
Wasserman’s materials and techniques mirror, both literally and symbolically, the fluidity of transition. Her oil paintings on linen incorporate silverpoint, a historical technique of scoring or burnishing specially prepared surfaces with a silver stylus or wire. Silverpoint’s fine, indelible traces slowly change color over dozens of years (patina) from gray to warm umber as the silver oxidizes in the presence of atmospheric moisture. Oxidative processes represent an electronic transition on the metal’s surface, reminding the viewer of the electricity between lovers and in t4t cruising spaces. Several larger works are painted with oil on polished brass and silvered copper whose glamorous metal shine, under layers of wax and lacquer, reflects and absorbs varying levels of light depending on how the viewer is oriented, refusing the imposition of figurative singularity. Self portrait in a convex mirror and Still life with barn splinters are works whose image was reflected with a convex security mirror throughout the painting process to distort depth’s dimensions onto brass and linen–as in gay crime–evading capture.
Originally from Indiana, Wasserman has been living and working in New York since 2008–aside from a few LA years. The spark of her painting practice began with a crush on the cool older girl, Whitney, in high-school, who became her instrumental painting mentor. The convex oil on copper painting, Lilacs (for Whitney) simultaneously serves as Wasserman’s reckoning with her mentor’s recent passing and homage to the importance of queer mentorship.
Through mirroring, reflection and t4t desire, Willa Wasserman’s TS CLEF insists on the elasticity of transfiguration and ultimately, how the process of relation is deeply transformative.
– Andrea Abi-Karam