The art world had its eyes and heart in Mexico City last week, and we are still going through all the shows, openings and artists we were seeing across the city. NARANJO 141 opened a two-person show with a little cross-Atlantic pairing of our favorites of the moment: London's Anna Kenneally and Brooklyn's Lizzy Lunday in Here, Elsewhere. 

The virtue of presentness is extolled as a cure-all— but what does it mean to be present in a new city with an unfamiliar rhythm, a culture that you don’t yet understand? The works in Here, Elsewhere, wrestle with what it means to remain mindful when we’re cut off from what we’re accustomed to. Brought together by a shared desire to eschew formulaic processes, the two artists' second show together in three years thrums with improvisational energy— each stroke of paint is another opportunity for composition, narrative, and gesture to be reimagined. Characters fashioned out of archetypes that span epochs struggle to find their footing on unsteady grounds. Sirens, crows, avatars of masculinity and allure weave in and out of scenery that spans the classical and the digital as they attempt to become whole. In both the artists’ hands and in the psychology of their subjects, a relentless pursuit of the present is brought to the fore. 

Responding to the contrast between London, New York, and Mexico City, Anna Keneally’s paintings in Here, Elsewhere draw on moments of alienation—of gazes averted, or bodies inhibited—to depict individuals relating tenuously to their surroundings. A postcard featuring a Tower Bridge, an image of a young woman smoking on a balcony at the Hotel Chelsea, and a host of floral motifs culled from across continents conjure up spaces that reside somewhere between the psychological and the physical. Hints of pensiveness come through on reflective faces, ominous forces emerge in subtly-drawn skulls, and figures in the midst of revelation dissolve seamlessly into their newfound surroundings. Immersed in unfamiliar cultures, trepidatious characters are compelled to intervene in their relationships to their peers, their audience, and their environments.

Lizzy Lunday's latest suite of paintings incorporate environmental features of her time in Mexico City into scenes that straddle the digital and the historical. Dramatic sunsets seen from the Naranjo roof, black-and-white tiling that lines the townhouse floors, and black-eyed Susans that flank the stairwell to the studio are fractured and reformulated into pictorial spaces where the luster of online media mingles with the aura of traditional architecture. Behind each brightly colored composition, Lunday’s subjects contend with an insecurity that betrays the superficial excitement they wear on their faces. As they enact gender, power, and intimacy, Lunday’s figures inhabit an idealized realm that seems to be on the verge of fizzling out. Constantly reacting, effacing, and reworking her paintings, Lunday’s spontaneous mark-making adds to the sense that something is still in the midst of being resolved. Uncertainty— of who, or where, we are— becomes the through-line in the work.