Before they begin a new project, mosie romney pulls a tarot card. “I recently got the Chariot, [which] feels reminiscent of a spiral staircase,” they explain from their Catskills studio. “I’ve been thinking about spiral staircases as they relate to cycle-breaking and fantasy, entering other worlds … I’m making paintings about the spiritual journey and the physical journey.”
Romney grew up in New York City and studied at SUNY Purchase, where the now 29-year-old learned to appreciate the region’s hush, as well as its abundance. Nature helps clear their head, and it is this lucidity that leads the artist from conception to finished product, translating a combination of daydreamed imagery and foraged objects, many sourced from eBay, into various abstractions on canvas or mixed-media assemblages.
Romney’s creations explore the concept of existence in all forms and in all places, mythical and biological. They often meld painting and poetry, making potions out of matter and swirling them around in an ethereal truth brew. In “Rhizome St./Fugue Avenue,” their first solo exhibition with New York’s PPOW gallery this fall, the artist dispatched from a multi-timeline universe, whose characters are connected, mysteriously, to each other.
To make the series, they assembled found materials like metal studs and plastic baby figurines in a process one might liken to putting the pieces of a dream puzzle back together. The resulting paintings’ palette—at once brilliant and muted, like the arching lines that punctuate each work—forces viewers to behold and traverse a seemingly infinite expanse.
When romney is not time traveling, they are destination hopping—thankfully, never alone. “Oopsie is definitely a support dog,” they say of their Lab/pit bull mix. “Being a painter is lonely … She reminds me to take breaks, go outside. When she eats, I eat. When she needs more drinking water, I need to drink too.”
Romney doesn’t take for granted the lifestyle they’ve been able to cultivate as an artist. Having worked since they were 16, they relish not having to report to any place they don’t want to. “Now I check into my studio, and it belongs to me in a way that I haven’t experienced before. That brings me joy.”
This state of enchantment permeates romney’s canvases, which vibrate with the potentiality of a reverie. The only question is what they will dream up next.