Chloe Early’s dreamlike paintings merge weightlessness with despair
In the 16th century, Saint Teresa of Ávila spoke of being visited by an angel, of “the sweetness of this excessive pain” as he pierced her heart with a golden shaft. Theresa’s words, and her canonization some 40 years after her death, led the prominent 17th-century artist and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini to sculpt her as a figure bridging the seemingly disparate states of religious and almost sexual euphoria. The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa remains one of the most important and well-studied Baroque sculptures, and it’s also the inspiration for a major London show from Irish artist Chloe Early.
Suspended is an all-new collection from Early that captures a single figure in a state of weightlessness. “I wanted to capture the figures at the point where it was uncertain if they are involved in the glory of a rise or the danger of a fall and ‘suspend’ them in that moment,” Early tells The Verge, “with every ecstatic moment comes the knowledge that that moment will pass.”
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