“Think you’re escaping and run into yourself,” wrote James Joyce in Ulysses, “longest way ’round is the shortest way home.” In an eloquent homage to romanticism and memory, painter Faye Wei Wei references another one of Joyce’s works in her painting titled, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Bud, included in her latest exhibition, I’ve Always Been a Weeper at the Cinema, on view now at Cob Gallery.
Stream of consciousness—Joyce’s pioneering practice of depicting an uninterrupted flow of a character’s thoughts, feelings, and reactions—seems to have inspired several of Wei Wei’s works. A stream of consciousness, fervor and melancholy, dribbling and splashing onto the canvas after a thaw. Harlequin spectres in cream and muted peach, the neatly angular folds of a pansy rendered in denim blue—murky phantoms of intimacy haunt the shadows of a revery in these large-scale paintings. To immerse yourself in This Golden Yesterday’s Sleep Upon the Iris is just as Joyce put it—to think you’re escaping only to run into yourself.