Melancholy in Black and Neon

Mary Weatherford, “Cosmos” (2020), flashe on linen, 112 x 99 inches (© Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio. Courtesy Gagosian)

LONDON — In his memoir Speak, Memory (1951) Vladimir Nabokov writes about why trains are compelling and mournful. Their long-drawn sigh when pulling into the station; the shadows and chinks of light that dance across carriages; the unsettling excitement of journeying into the unknown. The Californian artist Mary Weatherford tries to capture these qualities in her new series of 10 huge abstract paintings, Train Yards, on view at the Gagosian Gallery in London through February 27.

“There’s always something lonely and comforting about the sound of a train whistle,” she tells us in a 15-minute film on the gallery’s website that accompanies the exhibition. “Because you know somebody’s going somewhere. Somebody has a plan and somebody’s left someone and somebody’s going to meet someone. There’s a beginning and there’s going to be an ending and then there’s going to be another beginning.”

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