Juxtapoz Magazine - Samantha Joy Groff's "Dark Pastures" @ Half Gallery, NYC

I normally believed Caravaggio’s The Having of Christ experienced a film noir good quality to it. Judas IDi-ng Jesus even though the Roman guards stand all set to arrest him felt like a disciple turned state’s evidence as the son of God took his perp walk. The glint, the shimmer on the soldier’s armor browse as divine mild minus whatever benevolent association we make with something adjective-d as “divine.” And the kiss from Judas is akin to a mob dude bestowing upon his previous close friend the marked man’s farewell.

Given that graduating Yale’s MFA software in 2022, Samantha Pleasure Groff has quickly created a next all over her hauntingly seductive portraits of Mennonite gals. “Dark Pastures” mostly shifts away from this issue matter—the religious garb —while preserving the intrigue and coyness of her before function. Hair coverings be gone. Longing remains.

The via line right here, apart from the environment which continue to resembles the rural Pennsylvania of her youth, is an unspoken disturbance in the atmosphere, a desperate clutching for connectivity whose intensity at occasions smothers. And the animals like those in the paintings of Carroll Dunham bear witness to the foibles and yearnings of their human counterparts.

In an essay about the late Paul Thek, historian Robert Storr observes that “the grotesque is the artwork of extravagant contradiction.” He expands to go into the polarities of refinement as opposed to vulgarity, the ornamental as opposed to the distasteful , horror and humor. Groff undeniably faucets into these identical slipstreams: a possible duality of misreads. —Bill Powers, Founder, Half Gallery