Rendered in coloured pencil on black-gessoed paper, Samantha Roth’s drawings exude the dim luminance and irrational spatiality of X-rays and somniferous visions, evoking the eerie, unmoored feeling of days and locations melting with each other in the course of Covid-19 lockdowns. In the seven semiautobiographical items below, the artist meanders as a result of her pandemic reflections, regularly veering into own quirks in buy to unpack the obsessive, voyeuristic, and paranoiac tendencies that surfaced for so numerous of us all through far more than two many years of isolation. Her show’s title, “Duplex,” not only refers to the kind of house she life in, but also emphasizes the interplay between darkness and gentle, between concealment and revelation inside this imagery.
In Head to Head, 2021, Roth imagines a radiographic see by way of her bed room and into her neighbor’s dwelling. The layered transparencies of jumbled home furnishings intermingling throughout individual flats express a portentous however marginally comical temper of confusion and ailment. Furthering this narrative of impracticable need for distant conversation, Eavesdropper, 2021—a drawing aptly displayed by itself in a very small chamber—features the titular subject urgent their upper physique against a wall as a phantasmal arm materializes guiding the determine, ostensibly hoping to embrace them.
Tensions in between transgression and tenderness are in particular pointed in Cactus Smuggler (Nail File), 2022. Listed here, the topic insouciantly grooms her fingernails though hiding about two dozen plant cuttings beneath her outfits, thoroughly taped to her entire body. In accordance to the artist, this piece was impressed by pangs of self-identification in looking through news content about a spate of vegetation traffickers. In these tales, Roth recognized her very own penchant for from time to time snitching succulent clippings to fill out her backyard garden. As in other drawings, she modeled the determine just after herself, nonetheless omitted distinguishing capabilities to go away the thief’s id open up-finished.
Alluding to the artifice at the rear of these quasi-confessional stagings, Two, To, Far too, 2022, portrays a flat file with quite a few drawers tantalizingly ajar, revealing peeks of paper masks, doodles of cats, cactus cuttings, and the artist’s scribbled signature—just enough detail to permit inquisitive viewers to fill in the gaps with fancy, as an eavesdropper would.