for ella rose:
Memorial Universe! is no casual obsession, sweetheart. And there’s no easy breezy way to see these works. So much biographical flotsam comes to the surface, but it would be a disservice to this pungent matrix of paintings to give personal history too much credit here. And while it might serve this letter to gossip horribly about a teenage Santa Monica, the blonde will share her own story (brunettes like myself have no excuse).
Flood will tell you that the images seen in this show fix themselves compulsively in her mind, persistent mental flashes of an American Apparel bikini or crackers being desperately shoved into a mouth. Yet it is a mistake to consider these memories in any real sense. Flood never saw her mother being sworn in as an American citizen. Flood couldn’t have recalled a portrait of herself as a toddler standing mystified in the snow. And the intimacy of Ethan’s stomach and Ethan’s flipper is a treatment of flesh, not its lived impression.
It is essential to note that Flood’s paintings are obsessions unto themselves not based in any lived reality, rather situated in her own distorted fantasy-reality landscape. One must dispel comparisons to any sort of naturalism here as well. Memorial Universe! is a singular language of signs and symbols, of a foggy two-nine-nine painted at its most matte, stamped with an Egyptian ankh on its tender edges.
This exhibition is a shrine to Flood’s worship — personal rituals, oddly disgusting and funny and affectless as they are. A worship of her memorial universe which elides both the painstaking labor of these renderings and the strange personal cost of such fixations. Emerging fully formed from Flood, one can see the horror of rabbit/ human flesh and the small joyous glimmer of a Christmas tree simultaneously. Either way, there’s no gloss.
It’s a matte universe and we’re all just living in it. Take a deep breath in front of Urine upland canyon two nine nine. All that sentimental uric stench in your lungs should clean you up real quick.
how’s this all sound?? let me know <3 see u soon
yours forever darling, cody
— Cody Benfield