Rendered in colored pencil on black-gessoed paper, Samantha Roth’s drawings exude the dim luminance and irrational spatiality of X-rays and somniferous visions, evoking the eerie, unmoored feeling of days and locations melting jointly for the duration of Covid-19 lockdowns. In the seven semiautobiographical pieces in this article, the artist meanders through her pandemic reflections, routinely veering into personal quirks in get to unpack the obsessive, voyeuristic, and paranoiac tendencies that surfaced for so a lot of of us for the duration of extra than two years of isolation. Her show’s title, “Duplex,” not only refers to the type of house she lives in, but also emphasizes the interplay concerning darkness and light, between concealment and revelation within just this imagery.
In Head to Head, 2021, Roth imagines a radiographic perspective by her bedroom and into her neighbor’s dwelling. The layered transparencies of jumbled furnishings intermingling throughout independent apartments express a portentous yet a little comical mood of confusion and problem. Furthering this narrative of impracticable motivation for remote interaction, Eavesdropper, 2021—a drawing aptly shown by yourself in a very small chamber—features the titular topic pressing their higher body from a wall as a phantasmal arm materializes powering the determine, ostensibly striving to embrace them.
Tensions involving transgression and tenderness are particularly pointed in Cactus Smuggler (Nail File), 2022. Listed here, the subject matter insouciantly grooms her fingernails even though hiding about two dozen plant cuttings beneath her clothes, cautiously taped to her overall body. In accordance to the artist, this piece was influenced by pangs of self-identification in examining information articles about a spate of vegetation traffickers. In these tales, Roth recognized her own penchant for once in a while snitching succulent clippings to fill out her backyard. As in other drawings, she modeled the figure soon after herself, yet omitted distinguishing options to leave the thief’s id open up-finished.
Alluding to the artifice powering these quasi-confessional stagings, Two, To, Much too, 2022, portrays a flat file with several drawers tantalizingly ajar, revealing peeks of paper masks, doodles of cats, cactus cuttings, and the artist’s scribbled signature—just more than enough depth to enable inquisitive viewers to fill in the gaps with extravagant, as an eavesdropper would.