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Carrier, 2018. Oil on panel. Courtesy of the artist.

Future Possessive, features a selection of paintings by Boston-based artist Emily Eveleth. Through the elusive nature of her compositional subjects and elegant, yet reserved palette, Eveleth opens many doors of inquiry for the viewer. Her dramatic scenes are rendered with strong directional lighting, confident manipulation of paint, and unexpected vantage points. The identities of Eveleth’s subjects are partially obscured by elements like gloved-hands, theatrical makeup, and her inventive use of cropping. As an essential element in constructing a narrative, the observer is encouraged to ponder the relationship of the figures.

The large-scale painting, Possessive Determiner, created especially for the ZAM exhibition, is a three-paneled composition spanning over 15 feet. In this work, Eveleth has crafted a puzzling scene. A white-faced pantomime plays the role of a billiards referee and crouches down to inspect the actions of a player who is poised to forcefully send the cue ball across the table towards a mammoth globe. Are we playing an irreversible game with the state of the planet?  When asked if there are plots to these paintings, Eveleth offers that “the answer lies in the idea of causality. The elements have a relationship to each other beyond simply temporal linearity.”

In the large painting, Present Imperative, Eveleth creates another intriguing scene that is ripe for questioning. Is the foreshortened tuxedoed figure reclining on the floor in distress, or even worse, deceased? The recumbent person brings to mind Édouard Manet’s 1864 painting, The Dead Toreador. The positioning of Manet’s heroic subject looks noble and staged, unlike what we would actually expect to witness in the aftermath of being gored by a bull. Like Manet’s composition, Eveleth’s model, donned in formal attire, is bathed in dramatic light as it lies on the floor with one hand placed gracefully on its torso. What role does the ominous silhouetted figure, with its gloved hand and world globe casually resting on it hip, play in this mysterious setting?

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