Shannon Cartier Lucy - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale London Wednesday, June 29, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Home is a closely cropped domestic still life that teeters on the boundary between typical and absurd; pleasing and abject; familiar and uncanny. Two pairs of women’s shoes are propped up against the skirting board, virtually animated and shuffling to avoid the brown and white liquid which that from the two knocked over cartons. The spilled fluids swirl together, almost filling the cramped picture frame as it creeps into the foreground towards the viewer. 

    Shannon Cartier Lucy studied at New York University and began her art career in the city, but a divorce and substance addiction led the painter to put creating art on hold and return to her hometown, Nashville, Tennessee, where she pursued a degree in psychotherapy. In 2017, following a ten-year hiatus, Cartier Lucy was spontaneously compelled to pick up the paint brush, which led to Our New Home and was closely followed by 30 more paintings including the present work. These new paintings differed greatly in style and technique to the artists early work, they are precise in technique and united by the underlying sense of unease which permeates through each scene. In Our New Home (2017), a beautifully rendered glass fishbowl sits precariously above a gas flame, captured while the fish swim unaware and before the water boils. Similarly in Naptime (2018) there is a morbid sense of imminent demise as a female figure sleeps peacefully beneath a clear plastic sheet which also covers the surrounding bedroom furniture.

    'The image is intriguing and sexy and scary or odd, depending on who is seeing it. Painting somehow elevates the image, whatever it is, because the craft and its physicality can stop you, draw you in and convince you of its presence.' —Shannon Cartier Lucy

    In 1980, Bulgarian-French philosopher Julia Kristeva coined the term abjection to describe the feeling of revulsion and disgust when the boundaries we use to categorise the world, such as inside/outside, animal/human, animate/inanimate and life/death, are transgressed.  In the 1980s and 1990s, this theory sparked a movement of artists who explored this through their work, focussing mainly on the human body as the subject and with a strong feminist context. Unlike artist’s such as Louise Bourgeois, Jake and Dinos Chapman and Sarah Lucas who represented these themes predominantly through sculpture, Shannon Cartier Lucy’s recent practice is firmly anchored in traditional oil painting.  Cartier Lucy’s paintings conjure a sense of abjection in the viewer, through the implied narrative in each work, with a softened and bright result. In If My Hand Offends Hires (2019), a large pair of scissors close around an outstretched wrist, the image is frozen before the skin can be pierced and the viewer’s mind is required to simulate the inevitable. The artist’s work plays on sensations of the uncomfortable and leaves the viewer suspended in a prolonged sense of calm before disaster strikes. The artist’s preoccupation with this feeling can be partially attributed to her father, who is diagnosed with schizophrenia, was homeless for a time and later lived with Cartier Lucy and her partner: ‘He’s a guy who wears two pairs of pants, and smears his television with peanut butter,’ she says. Rather than being horrified by his behaviour, she finds it fascinating, ‘That off quality, that uncanny quality [in my painting], I’m attracted to that because of my father.’i

    Cartier Lucy’s paintings harbour a timeless quality, evoked by the artist’s intentionally simple and ambiguous figures, clothing and home furnishings. Of this choice, she has said ‘If I am painting shoes, they have to be very plain white sneakers or ballet shoes. High heels, for example, would take the work somewhere else. I prefer a clean slate in that sense.’ii In Home, we see only the simple black and beige soles of the shoes and a hint of the leather edges and straps, brandless cartons and traditional home decoration. The cool coloured walls, white panelling and narrow shard of sunlight illuminating the half of the door evoke the serene interiors of Vilhelm Hammershoi and the aerial viewpoint recalls the perspective utilised by Edgar Degas, yet these familiar qualities are disturbed by Shannon Cartier Lucy’s visceral addition of the spilled liquids and results in an altogether different experience. 


    Vilhhelm Hammershoi, Living in Strand Street with sunshine on the floor, 1901, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen. Image: Bridgeman Images


    Recently celebrated with her solo exhibition A stapled glass at Massimo de Carlo, Hong Kong (December 2021 through January 2022) and currently exhibiting at Massimo de Carlo, Milan with her solo exhibition The secret ingredient è la morte (19 May through 25 June 2022), Phillips are delighted to be making the artist’s first auction debut. 
    i Brienne Walsh, ‘In New Paintings, Shannon Cartier Lucy Blows The Lid Off Reality’, Forbes, 17 September 2021, online
    ii Osman Can Yerebakan, ‘Do Not Ignore the Gift: Shannon Cartier Lucy Interviewed by Osman Can Yerebakan,’ BOMB Magazine, 26 October 2021, online

    • Condition Report

    • Description

      View our Conditions of Sale.

    • Provenance

      de boer gallery, Los Angeles
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Los Angeles, de boer gallery, Shannon Cartier Lucy: Woman With Machete, 8 February - 25 April 2020



oil on canvas
50.8 x 76.2 cm (20 x 30 in.)
Painted in 2018.

Full Cataloguing

£25,000 - 35,000 

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey

Specialist, Associate Director, Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art
+44 20 7318 4084

[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

London Auction 29 June 2022