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 collectively throughout Covid-19 lockdowns. Within the seven semiautobiographical items right here, the artist meanders by way of her pandemic reflections, often veering into private quirks to be able to unpack the obsessive, voyeuristic, and paranoiac tendencies that surfaced for therefore many people throughout greater than two years of isolation. Her present’s title, “Duplex,” not solely refers to the kind of dwelling she lives in, but in addition emphasizes the interaction between darkness and light-weight, between concealment and revelation inside this imagery.
In Head to Head, 2021, Roth imagines a radiographic view by way of her bed room and into her neighbor’s dwelling. The layered transparencies of jumbled furnishings intermingling throughout separate flats convey a portentous but barely comical temper of confusion and dysfunction. Furthering this narrative of impracticable need for distant interplay, Eavesdropper, 2021—a drawing aptly displayed alone in a tiny chamber—options the titular topic urgent their higher physique in opposition to a wall as a phantasmal arm materializes behind the determine, ostensibly attempting to embrace them.
Tensions between transgression and tenderness are particularly pointed in Cactus Smuggler (Nail File), 2022. Right here, the topic insouciantly grooms her fingernails whereas hiding about two dozen plant cuttings beneath her clothes, rigorously taped to her physique. Based on the artist, this piece was impressed by pangs of self-identification in studying information articles a few spate of vegetation traffickers. In these tales, Roth acknowledged her personal penchant for sometimes snitching succulent clippings to fill out her backyard. As in different drawings, she modeled the determine after herself, but omitted distinguishing options to go away the thief’s id open-ended.
Alluding to the artifice behind these quasi-confessional stagings, Two, To, Too, 2022, portrays a flat file with a number of drawers tantalizingly ajar, revealing peeks of paper masks, doodles of cats, cactus cuttings, and the artist’s scribbled signature—simply sufficient element to permit inquisitive viewers to fill within the gaps with fancy, as an eavesdropper would.