Melissa Ríos: Realities in Dialogue

May 15 - June 15, 2023
121 Watts Street

JO-HS NY is pleased to present Melissa Ríos: Realities in Dialogue, a solo exhibition of new paintings by the Costa Rican artist. Realities in Dialogue is Melissa’s first solo show in New York and with JO-HS.

The exhibition will be on view from May 15th to June 15th by appointment only.

Installation view, Melissa Ríos: Realities in Dialogue, JO-HS New York, 2023
© Melissa Ríos

Melissa Ríos paints her dreams. Streams of consciousness collaged on canvas and sourcedfrom unconscious states of an impossible dream that seeks the night. There she encounterssalons filled with pastel lime wash walls and black-and-white tiled floors that beg us to danceour way to the light. She stumbles upon tangerine curtains and swatches of blue tie-dye furarranged in the chaos of a studio and walks along green marshes whose wetlands mirror hazyskies on the coast of murmurs. Melissa Ríos appropriates fragments of a life once consumedby architecture and design and now compelled to paint intuitively charged compositions ofthose realities in dialogue.

Melissa Ríos is the lithe, female torso, always obscured, lying on her stomach, leaning upright,and graciously slouching, always in flux. Perhaps she is not the disembodied figure wearingthe yellow trousers, the billowy blouse, or the cocktail dress with a plunging neckline. Thewoman was spotted in a Vogue catalog from the 1950s and she is also one of the women ofAlex Katz’s New York. Melissa Ríos both is and is not the figure wearing the patent blackleather loafers, the ascot, and mohair, red hat, and the woman wrapped in an almost sheer, silk sheet that clings to the sun-kissed skin of a bare back.

Whoever she or Melissa Ríos is, she exudes femininity through silhouettes of cocoons, shells,and petals that contain and provide a womb for the figurative realism of what we cannotname while encouraging a testimony full of clarity. Alice is now too big for the tea party, herMary Janes have a thin, sparkly strap, and her white stockings are not the hazy skies ofwetlands, but the whirling lava of luminescent lamps. These characters float amongst galactichues and cotton-candy blues. They are accompanied by yellow disks that spin and flourishingfloral motifs that in one instance echo the Pop Art of James Rosenquist and in another, theabstraction of Georgia O’Keeffe, but perhaps more so the uncanny play of René Magritte. Is it the rabbit or the duck; we can never be quite sure.

The portal for the uncanny, where the unfamiliar becomes familiar and the familiar becomesunfamiliar, reveals itself in Melissa Ríos’s more intimate canvases. With looser brushwork,flashes of refracted light from unseen windows, and often muted, two-toned palettes, thepaintings evoke the idea of the peak. With every twinkle or tear Melissa Ríos reminds us thatlove is not without ambiguity, chance is also destiny, and every moment offers a continuousstart. In all her paintings, she depicts the intangibility of dreams through a series of haikus and visual metaphors of the real and the imagined, of the then, now, and later.

Melissa Ríos paints her dreams and maybe even yours.

- Text written by curator and writer Taylor Fisch.