The recurrent motif in “Me at 3AM,” Quintessa Matranga’s recent show of seven small, anxious oil paintings, was a thick quilted comforter, which acts as a barrier between a human figure and the ominous, threatening world that she inhabits. Painted on the New York–based artist’s bedroom floor, these small, deliberately impoverished works of teen surreality summon a youthful, sequestered world. In Sleeping in My Dreams (all works 2017), a bed is hoisted into a black night sky; sandwiched between the mattress and a comforter is a young woman, secured in place by a chain. She is elongated and ill-proportioned, while her face and poker-straight hair are brought about through a childish painterly stylethe oil paint in these areas is dry, crumbly and gingerly applied, creating the effect of a school painting made with acrylics.
The paintings that most readily invoke a psychic or
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