Siobhan McBride’s paintings are views into worlds that seem familiar yet are strangely out of kiter, disparate. Her pictures are tense, as if we’re watching, waiting for something to happen. Yet nothing does. Each scene is meticulously composed to heighten the tension, the anxiousness.
Where has everyone gone? We don’t know, she leaves us in suspense, gives us clues, fragments of places, moments, memories. Each image a distillation of another time, place, space. Perhaps she’s making puzzles for us, the viewer, leaving us to figure out what the story is? Why is there a sense of foreboding in her paintings? Is it the absence of humanity? Where is everyone gone? Have they disappeared into the ether? Or did they simply never exist?
Here’s how she explains her filmic paintings:
I have come to think of my paintings as views of a place where magic reveals itself differently than it does in this world. The scenes are tense with anticipation or blushing in the aftermath of an unseen event. Paintings combine disparate yet familiar fragments into spaces that are still, anxious, and temperamental. They are descriptions of awkward experiences, passages from books and film fragments, things caught in the corner of my eye, and an attempt to conjure slippery memories. They are, simultaneously, diagrams for understanding events from the past, and puzzles to decode experiences not yet had. I hope the work is strange and suspenseful like the excitement of exploring a new place, and the thrill of knowing you are drifting back into a frightening dream.