Shift. Swift. Repeat. Rearrange.
Isabel Santos’s work for her new solo exhibit, Over and Over and Over and, are meditations on repetition. First created with meticulous and painstaking studies in bed, the resulting images are larger pieces that were imagined in repose. “Unplanned quarantine works were driving me insane.” The inescapability of repetition has been linked to a particular kind of loss of sanity. Cabin fever sweeping across the country has made dull Jacks out of all of us.
For Santos, some paintings are still alive. In some ways, these studies have contributed to Santos’s personal growth, where she encouraged herself to be more sure of her ideas before laying down the paint, and to forgive herself for “ruining” them with unplanned or careless strokes. In bed, while planning her larger pieces, she can run free and be less daunted by the larger empty canvases in front of her.
Santos has adopted a self-imposed strictness on being precise on elements, such as where the lines were or how thick they have to be, all scaled and accurate to a T, according to her studies. The freedom was expressed on a smaller scale; Santos just wanted to blow it up.
Santos has always toed the line into uncanniness, and it is the same here. “Something doesn’t belong,” but she won’t tell you exactly what it is. Over and Over and Over and is a collection of pieces and ideas that have been reworked, but distilled, with a focus more on the subject itself, with no add-ons or distractions in the surrounding areas. It’s a period of practicing messing up and putting these pieces back together.