Swiss artist Zoe Byland’s art invites us into a haunting monochromatic world where her portrayals of young subjects defy our sense of space and time. They are equally timeless and futuristic, evoking vintage photographs of a mysterious, yet playful other-world where goldfish fly and people wear bubble shaped space helmets. In part inspired by 19th century family photographs, her characters have been described as apparitions or even supernatural, products of Byland’s imagination, whose head is perpetually in the clouds.
On April 11, Dorothy Circus Gallery in Rome will present “Nocturnalia” by Italian artist Seven Moods and “Head in The Clouds” by Swiss artist Zoe Byland, two side-by-side solo shows with overlapping themes. Both artists use primarily monochromatic palettes to create paintings with a sense of mystery and suspense — sometimes even foreboding. Byland’s paintings riff on 19th-century family photographs. Without any adults in sight, the little girls posing gracefully in her work are privy to magical apparitions and strange happenings. Viewers are left to wonder whether these supernatural occurrences are the product of the characters’ imaginations, or perhaps ghostly visitors caught on camera.