ANNIE McLAUGHLIN // brushing out the brood mare's tale

On view April 20–May 19, 2017
Opening reception Sunday, April 23 (3–5 p.m.)

Utopia is a place far away from here. A place where fields of wildflowers and rolling hills speckle the countryside. A place where coyotes run free and the hearth is always ablaze. Or maybe it’s a place where the sun is perpetually setting over a cool desert landscape as pinto ponies trot along the horizon. For centuries artists have created images that revel in the fantasy of a pastoral paradise. Often these images are a response to the clamor and chaos of urban centers, offering an uncomplicated view of rural American life.

In her second solo show at Nationale, Brushing Out the Brood Mare’s Tale, Annie McLaughlin delves into the symbols and tropes of this fabricated utopia. Her imagery vacillates between traditional domestic objects—fireplace, rocking chair, window blinds—and the untamed creatures of the surrounding scenery. The contrast between the quaint and cozy home with the wild and unruly landscape, highlights the blissful simplicity of the genre; when there’s a safe home to retreat to, the natural world is never a threat, but rather a complement to one’s serene domestic existence. With their intended spatial flatness and wonderfully cliched subject matter, McLaughlin’s paintings and sculptures are both a celebration and a criticism of this long held fantasy of a rural place far away and far better than here.

Originally from Long Beach, CA, Annie McLaughlin lives in Portland, OR. Her work primarily takes form in paint and deals with the complex stories of American symbol and myth. McLaughlin received an apprenticeship at Portland’s Columbia FiberArts Guild in 2014, and a BFA in Painting from Pacific Northwest College of Art in 2015. Her work has been shown locally at Nationale, Open Gallery, Eutectic Gallery, and the Museum of Contemporary Craft; and internationally at David Risley Gallery in Copenhagen, Steinsland Berliner Gallery in Stockholm, and Agnes B’s Gallerie du Jour in Paris. This is McLaughlin’s second solo exhibition at Nationale.