A solo exhibition by Shalimar Gonzaga
First there is uncomfortable, disquieted resignation, coupled with an astonished acceptance that “this is it.” Awakening each morning to eat, bathe, work, eat again, work some more, go home, rest, eat yet again, and fall into some nocturnal oblivion before waking up the next morning and doing it all again with little or no variation. Is there more, we ask as dissatisfaction sweeps in with recognition, is there meaning, is there purpose? We wonder where the color has gone, and why there is muteness where once there was sound. It would be easier to die than to live in such a vacuum, but continuation is a commitment, a celebration of the mundane. Morning after morning after morning–each day dawns and we are still breathing, we are still here, still roused from bed by a need to be present, by a desire to act, even if the script has become wearisome beyond all belief. Because we remember that we have choices, we remember each day, each morning is a choice, and we choose to exist. Good morning, we know not what lies ahead.
In “Good Morning,” Shalimar Gonzaga’s sublime vision of everyday routine speaks to us through a series of paintings that gently pull habituation out of its obscurity of obsolescence to place it in the forefront of consciousness. What does it mean to repeat? Is hope only to be found in life’s grand moments or does it also course through the veins of the mundane? And, most importantly, what gives us the strength to go on, to get out of bed and boldly (or timidly) start a day that we know will build itself up around a nearly-guaranteed scaffolding of sameness? Art has answers, and, in the tradition of Stephen Taylor and Claude Monet, Gonzaga’s paintings invite us to embrace the mundane–the pile of rumpled pillows, the downturned and disheveled sheets, the chore undone–and to find not only ourselves in it, but also a certain purposeful transcendence, an elevation of self that is nevertheless firmly–perhaps even essentially–grounded in the sometimes-maddening, quotidian repetitions that form the bulk of our lives. Through, with, because of, and despite our daily tasks and habits, we dream, wonder, and live. And, as Gonzaga shows us, we create again and again and again.