Critics’ Picks

Hilary Pecis, Winter Room, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 62 x 50".

Hilary Pecis, Winter Room, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 62 x 50".

New York

Hilary Pecis

Rachel Uffner Gallery
170 Suffolk Street
Open by appointment only

Los Angeles, Jean Baudrillard once wrote, “is in love with its limitless horizontality, as New York may be with its verticality.” Perhaps a requisite for a dalliance with horizontality is a sense of slowness, an abiding attendance to the plane. This notion seems central to LA-based painter Hilary Pecis’s “Come Along With Me,” her second solo show here, which invites the viewer into lusciously personal environs. Although figures don’t figure heavily, the fourteen acrylic paintings are quietly flamboyant with humanity. The viewer bears witness to Pecis’s life indirectly, via bits of accrued evidence such as plated almonds, a book of poetry by Mary Oliver or a volume on Albrecht Dürer, and a nook full of board games like Yahtzee and Scattergories—quirks of haptic occupancy that destine these scenes to hang together.

Like her home city, the works that comprise “Come Along With Me” contain portals and egresses. There are slices of windows and/or paintings within paintings. Winter Room, 2020, for instance, is pleasantly disorienting; in it, a cat snoozes on a lopsided yellow couch, above which a picture of a Matissean interior hangs. Behind a white curtain is a view of a silhouetted palm tree, which is cut off by the edge of the canvas. In these images, everydayness is quietly made weird via kaleidoscopic pilings of textures, patterns, and apertures into and out of the space.

Nature often transpierces indoor life in Los Angeles; Pecis shrewdly captures this quality’s sunnier aspects by framing the horizontal splay of how we represent ourselves within our own environments. The viewer is not exactly inside these scenes, but neither is she a trespasser in a land of wraiths; rather, she is alongside the painter, having been sweetly summoned to the command center.