Molly Metz: It Will Grow Back
March 31, 2022–May 06, 2022

Friends Indeed is pleased to present It Will Grow Back, featuring new work by the Philadelphia-based artist Molly Metz.

Metz’s recent paintings were inspired by a small, boundried space, but their imaginative scope is expansive. As an expansion to her studio practice, Metz has spent time painting and sculpting in her backyard. As she learned to cope with wind gusts and insects flying into her paint, she also became intrigued by what felt like a shared energy coursing through the natural world, the distant cosmos, and the most mundane aspects of human life. Metz’s works both teem with chaotic life and hint at a generative rhythm giving structure to time and space.

The squiggling lines, stretched ovals, and sinuous forms that proliferate in Metz’s pictures are undeniably biological in appearance, but their exact referents are elusive. From a terrestrial perspective, worms, roots, bodily organs, cells and microbes come to mind. In Say It, for example, the snake-like forms that careen toward a central square immediately conjure sperm racing toward an egg. This image sets the stage for It Will Grow Back, with its central uterus-like shape that houses a tangle of developing life forms. It’s tempting to study Metz’s work for signs of recognizable species, but to do so would miss the point. An attraction to the cosmological, rather than the anatomical, drives her work. Metz’s images evoke recurrent and widespread processes of creation rather than any single biological phenomenon. They suggest a will to create at the heart of our planet’s existence and perhaps the universe as a whole. As she describes it, working outdoors introduced Metz to the world of possibilities hiding under every rock: even the most minute of natural spaces offers a window onto the incomprehensible quantity of life thriving on earth and an energetic force that seems extra-planetary in origin.

Human beings enter into Metz’s meditations on natural creation not only through allusions to our bodily makeup and processes but also to the signature marker of our intellectual prowess: language. Her works are inscribed with repeated bits of speech–“forget for no reason,” “no you are”--that intermingle with other shapes to become one more ingredient in Metz’s writhing surfaces. The phrases soon lose their linguistic significance as they confound attempts to pinpoint a particular meaning. Instead they loop through the mind like a chant (or as Metz puts it, like techno music) confusing our sense of beginning and end. The same logic of circularity structures the material form of her work. Densely layered compositions made from newsprint, thin washes of paint, ink, and marker, Metz’s paintings wrap around to the back of their supports. Viewed as a whole–verso and recto–these paintings comprise their own boundried worlds–singular spaces that offer endless options for creative beginnings and endings, discovery and renewal, not unlike the perennially regenerating world we all inhabit.