Inman Gallery is pleased to present HOWL, a group exhibition featuring work by Moll Brau, Angela Fraleigh, and Angelica Raquel. Opening on July 23 with an artists’ reception from 2– 4pm, the exhibition continues through August 27, 2022. The show is on view concurrently with Sigrid Sandström: Recent Paintings.
In her own way, each artist tackles the magical to explore themes of femininity, the grotesque, the occult, narrative, storytelling, spell craft, ancestral healing and power. Moving through anguish, grief, and anger, the works on view hold space for the processing of those emotions while offering antidotes of healing, protection, and reclamation.
Nature and storytelling thematically anchor the exhibition. The incorporation of nature, specifically animals, is present in each artists' work, often shown in tandem with figures. Dogs are seen on alert, as protectors, or symbols of loyalty and love in Fraleigh’s You’d be surprised by how many mountains you might crawl over (A spell for protection). Generations of matriarchs tenderly greet a doe, a shared understanding of motherhood passing between the central figures in Raquel’s My Epoch: Angelica, Melinda, Irma, Luisa, Leonor. An abstracted woman wrestles with a parasitic pearl encapsulated in the shell of a mollusk in Brau’s Mother of Pearl (The Creator Archetype). A global cultural ubiquity, animals have long been present in folklore, mythology, and witchcraft as characters, guides, allegories, sources of power, wisdom and spirituality. Within the show we see an acknowledgement of the association between nature and femininity, both through moments that challenge the association and moments that embrace it, simultaneously looking towards animals for power and solace.
Following the folkloric presence of animals, storytelling is an equally central force in the show. Raquel’s work is rooted in oral tradition and memory, exploring her inheritance of generational knowledge and familial lore. Brau’s interrogation of archetypes – The Creator, The Explorer, The Ruler – acknowledge character tropes, particularly gendered scripts, and offer transcendent maneuvers to conform, diverge, and reclaim prescribed narrative arcs. Fraleigh’s Spell Paintings challenge the historical demonization of witchcraft and embrace the ways contemporary witches use myth and untold histories as strategies to (re)imagine new narratives around magic and power. Even the word “spell” has an expansive etymology, translating to “story, narrative, fable, or cause of enchantment.”
Drawing parallels between art production and spell craft, these works harness the magic of making the intangible tangible, of transforming unseen narratives into physical blends of abstraction and figuration with pours, gestures, strokes, fibers. There is a magic in stories we tell, the stories we share.
HOWL captures anguish, grief, power, folklore, and magic. An homage to the wolf, we howl at the moving moon, transitioning from night to day, moving through darkness and looking towards the light ahead. Announcing ourselves in the dead of night – our presence, our persistence, our past, our paths forward. Together we howl.
Angela Fraleigh’s paintings weave together realism and abstraction in layered compositions, ranging from intimate portraits to monumental figurative paintings that reimagine and re-signify women’s roles in art history, literature, and contemporary media. The work included in HOWL are from the artist’s most recent series of “Spell Paintings.” Swirling abstract spaces combine with bold voids of color; thick pours of luminous paint or lustrous metallic leafing obscure fleshy forms, coupling the seen with the unseen. Together, these works create an immersive hallucinatory “witches brew,” drawn from invisible histories, subversive tales, coded messaging, and feminist utopian literature. Born from her research on witchcraft for her upcoming Wadsworth exhibition, these paintings and their accompanying written spells honor contemporary approaches to witchcraft and female power to spotlight how the fear of women’s power institutionally manifests as gendered disenfranchised, marginalization, and oppression.
Angela Fraleigh earned a BFA from Boston University in 1998 and an MFA from Yale University in 2003. She is currently based in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Born and raised in the border city of Laredo, Texas, Angelica Raquel draws much of her inspiration from her upbringing and the culture she grew up in. Using narratives rooted in folklore, familial storytelling, and her personal experiences, Angelica investigates ideas of morality and the soul. Her use of animal imagery has a dual purpose of representing a personal loved one, herself, and the animal. Based in San Antonio, Texas, Angelica works as an Educator and Artist. Her love of nature and animals constantly influences her multidisciplinary studio practice, which consists of fibers, sculpture, painting, and drawing. The work included in HOWL is in part an homage to her late grandfather’s ranch, honoring the memories, magic, and stories that were created and shared in that space.
Angelica Raquel earned a BFA from Texas State University in 2016 and an MFA from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2020. She is currently based in San Antonio, Texas.
Moll Brau is a multi-disciplinary artist from Shreveport, Louisiana with practices in painting, video work, performance, and installation. Her most recent body of paintings are a collision of the real and imagined with fierce blends of gestural abstraction and figuration. Exploring the juxtaposition between the feminine and the grotesque, Brau continually examines power sources, gender norms, and the strengths and limitations of the human body. The works included in HOWL engage the brutality of nature and sexuality, using thick impasto and urgent mark making alongside a variety of mixed media to encapsulate female power. Brau’s witty narrative references and visual motifs display modes of triumph over adversity through anguish, beauty, and rage.
Moll Brau earned her BFA from Louisiana State University and is currently based in Austin, Texas.