Lindsay Merrill & Paul Rouphail // Another Night ~ 5.20 – 6.26

Lindsay Merrill, Townie, Oil on linen, 58 x 38 in, 2022

Paul Rouphail, Portrait, Oil on linen, 54 x 48 in, 2022

Lindsay Merrill, Bathroom, Oil on linen, 24 x 20 in, 2022

Lindsay Merrill, Happy Birthday, Oil on linen, 24 x 20 in, 2022

Paul Rouphail, Letter, Oil on linen mounted to panel, 10 x 8 in, 2022

Paul Rouphail, Keys, Oil on linen mounted to panel, 10 x 8 in, 2022

Paul Rouphail, Late Afternoon, Oil on linen, 36 x 34 in, 2022

Paul Rouphail, Red Meal, Oil on linen, 32 x 28 in, 2022

Paul Rouphail, Letters, Oil on linen, 52 x 38 in, 2022

Lindsay Merrill, Nativity, Oil on linen, 28 x 24 in, 2022

Lindsay Merrill, Another Night, Oil on linen, 44 x 42 in, 2022

Lindsay Merrill, Hot’n Ready, Oil on linen mounted to panel, 10 x 8 in, 2022

Paul Rouphail, Kettle, Oil on linen, 46 x 44 in, 2022

SMART OBJECTS is proud to present Another Night, a two-person exhibition of new paintings by Lindsay Merrill and Paul Rouphail.

Created in a process both autonomous and collaborative, Merrill and Rouphail’s realistic oil on linen scenes are charged with subtle surreality and poetic depth. Based on the artists’ immediate surroundings of Oak Hill, West Virginia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the tableaux of domestic encounters and suburban malaise recurrently return to food and light to evince moments in time.

Illustrating notions of liminality, the paintings depict physical spaces, durational moments, and emotional states that serve as transitional corridors between two locations, times, or events. Windows, ceilings, and fences compose in-between architecture, while intermediate time ranges from pitch-black nights awaiting dawn to transitional seasons of life. The unexpected aestheticizing of casual moments with heightened nuance to detail transcends any subject or moments into an encounter with something sacred. Like snapshots that immediately glow with a nostalgia for the recent past, the works convey a collapse of days into decades.

Created in close proximity and responding to one another’s visual cues, as attested in their shared color palette, the canvases cross-fade into one another with little friction. For example, a red lit water-stained drop ceiling adorned with party lights, Happy Birthday, by Merrill inspired Rouphail’s dimly lit Red Meal, depicting a rare steak and red velvet cake that barely register as red when cast in artificial light. The vignettes of moments share a variety of dramatic lighting, ranging from extremely dim and distant glowing to white hot sources of light that blow out details. With an assertive employment of chiaroscuro lighting, the works make fluent reference to the history of painting.

While Merrill captures transitory movement and stationary boredom in portraits of Rouphail in Another Night and Townie respectively, Rouphail’s still-life interpretation of Merrill, titled Portrait, is composed of books, family photos, an illuminated bulb refracting a halo of light, and a wrist watch that reads one-minute-to seven o’clock, leaving the viewer guessing if the orange light beneath looming clouds outside the window recounts a sunrise or a sunset. To this end, the exhibition as a whole can be read as a portrait of a relationship – a joint quest to illuminate places that might otherwise be obscured or forgotten through shared offerings of light.

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Lindsay Merrill (b. 1987: lives and works in Philadelphia) received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and her Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver. This is her first exhibition with the gallery.

Paul Rouphail  (b. 1987) received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. His recent solo and group exhibitions include Stems Gallery, Brussels, Belgium; SMART OBJECTS, Los Angeles, CA; Jack Barrett, Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, Fisher Parrish Gallery, George Adams Gallery, Nancy Margolis Gallery, and Microscope Gallery, New York, NY; Fjord Gallery and Little Berlin, Philadelphia, PA; The Miller ICA at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA; and White Columns online. Rouphail's work has been reviewed online and in print, including the Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles, Artspace, New American Paintings, Juxtapoz Magazine, Maake Magazine, and Gestalten Press' Imagine Architecture, among others. Rouphail lives and works in Philadelphia, PA and is represented by SMART OBJECTS in Los Angeles, Stems Gallery in Brussels, and Jack Barrett in New York.