Phantom Shell


Catherine Haggarty & Anna Valdez

July 28- August 13, 2018





Phantom Shell is a two person exhibition in our main gallery by Brooklyn, NY artist Catherine Haggarty and Oakland, CA artist Anna Valdez. Haggarty will show a series of vibrant paintings that abstracts subjects of environment, sports and identity through a perspective of the sublime and the absurd alongside Valdez’s abundantly patterned studio still lifes populated by lush plants, textiles and the unexpected intimate finds from her personal cabinet of curiosities. Haggarty and Valdez, two friends who found meaningful resonances across the continent, will be present to discuss how they cultivate deeply personal ways of establishing interconnections with their art practice to their communities of collaborating, critiquing, curating and utilization of traditional craft. 


A ghost. “A phantom who haunts lonely roads"


The hard protective outer case of a mollusk or crustacean


For almost four years Anna Valdez and Catherine Haggarty have been connected from across the country via social media, emails and phone calls. Anna based in Oakland, CA and Catherine in Brooklyn, NYC - have not yet met. Mutual admiration for each other’s work, care packages sent and painting trades have built a friendship and a collaboration culminating in the occasion of their first show together and their first meeting in real life. 


Phantom Shell is a painting show. These two nouns - join together to set the stage for over 20 paintings made by two different yet sharply unique painters. Both artists are endeavoring towards capturing the elusive and hard fought moment in painting when the dust clears and barriers break down. In a way, Phantom Shell is a show very much about the act of paying attention, of looking and of caring a great deal about one’s surroundings. To sit own alone and begin making work that eventually connects you to the world is the job of virtually every artist. Ultimately, this show is about connection and is a testament to remaining open despite many hurdles and thousands of miles in between these two artists. 


Anna Valdez’s shells are often her subjects but they also act as a metaphor for the weight of her painting style and her commitment to painting still life. There is something concrete about Valdez’s paintings – which playfully opposes Haggarty’s paintings that often ebb and flow in and out of clarity. Valdez’s paintings confidently show you leaves, rugs, vases and shells that assert their compositional ground. Valdez’s paint style and steady hand undeniably make the viewer care as much as she does about her subjects. 


Haggarty’s subjects are often elusive and operate the way ghosts do. They move in and out of the picture frame and they act like a figment of one’s imagination. Leaves, moons, and vases assert their presence but just as soon they appear clear they dissipate into atmosphere as other forms and colors challenge optics. Both painters are committed to a specific set of subjects – but share them in unique and personal ways.  Phantom Shell is a painting show and a collaboration.