Shannon Cartier Lucy’s Woman with Machete

Woman Under Sink, 2019, Oil on canvas, 32 x 32 in.

Shannon Cartier Lucy’s paintings seem to happen in slow motion. A tulip balancing on a finger, a potted geranium poised on a foot—moments that suggest action to come, accident, or tragedy. What Lucy paints is measured, junctures are captured with intention and detail. There is no freedom of brushstroke in these frames. This format lends a cinematic quality: there is a director behind the scenes, a sense of foreshadow and narrative. Looking at Lucy’s work, I thought of Chantal Akerman’s arthouse classic Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, a film chronicling a mother/sex worker’s regimented schedule of cooking and cleaning, until subtle slip-ups lead to the character’s violent psychological break. Akerman’s monotonous shots of a domesticated woman function as a mental pressure-cooker, dullness turns to melancholy, to angst. Lucy’s work shares Akerman’s sense of slow-paced drama, methodical depictions of a woman bending under the sink, a woman holding a pair of scissors to her wrist, and a woman lying with a machete on her chest. 

The theme of women on the verge, and the gradual dissolution of the self, is an autobiographical element of Lucy’s work. After a nervous breakdown and a heroin habit, Lucy quit painting, moved home, got clean, and became a trained psychotherapist. “Woman with Machete,” is Lucy’s first solo show in Los Angeles, marking her return to painting after a decade-long break. Her new body of work is unsurprisingly powerful, intimate, and unsettling. Lucy meditates on narrative, recovery, and a return to “home,” in these delicate works that often include herself as subject. “Woman with Machete” is open at De Boer Gallery in Los Angeles until April 11th. – Claire Milbrath

Images courtesy of the artist and De Boer Gallery

Woman with Machete, 2019, Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 in.

Woman with Shoestrings, 2019, Oil on canvas, 25 x 34 in.

Tulip on Finger, 2019, Oil on canvas, 21 x 32 in.

If My Hand Offends, 2019, Oil on canvas, 25 x 34 in.

Wasps, 2019, Oil on canvas, 36 x 28 in.

Woman with Blush, 2019, Oil on canvas, 34 x 48 in.