Birds on Cages: Sandra Chevrier’s Superheroes Come to New York City

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Harman Projects, NYC // May 04, 2024 – May 25, 2024

Is true freedom attainable? It’s a lofty question, but one artist Sandra Chevrier hasn’t shied away from in her years of artmaking. Her solo exhibition Birds on Cages at Harman Projects NYC is the newest presentation of paintings and mixed-media works in her Cages series, a growing body of work that highlights how grand societal expectations of women actually limit their actions and desires. Merging hyperreal portraits of women with the pop-aesthetic of comic book superheroes, Chevrier’s paintings offer a fresh perspective on liberation and the powers women have to destroy their cages; to sing for freedom.

Where previous iterations of this series showed women consumed by their cages, the works in Birds on Cages reveal the women’s identities moments before liberation, celebrating the triumph of overcoming societal and self-imposed limitations. A mother herself, Chevrier has experienced first- hand how society thrusts unreal expectations on women that are not imposed on men: to be strong and durable like superheroes, but to also be feminine, sensitive, and caring. Chevrier’s works do not demonize one way of being and heroize another, instead recognizing that moving through this world of light and dark, hope and despair, love and loss, is nuanced and multifaceted. By building cages from images of superheroes and villains engaged in conflict Chevrier underscores how these dualities are balanced in life—the pull between freedom and captivity is a life-long struggle in our bodies and minds.

Framed by powerful, poetic titles like “I did not sell my soul to the devil,” the portraits of these women are electric, their hair lifted by the flames that dissolve the cages, “leaving behind remnants that symbolize the turbulent journey of breaking free from confinement,” writes the artist. “While traces of the masks remain visible, there is a sense of renewal and freedom rather than suffocation. The artworks exude a palpable sense of satisfaction, exhilaration, and power, akin to a bird soaring above its former cage, unshackled from its restraints.”

Birds on Cages opens to the public on May 4th, 2024.

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