Danielle Roberts Paints the Feeling of “Idling”

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Micki Meng, San Francisco // February 08, 2024 – March 15, 2024

Maybe if you grew up in the suburbs you would understand the feeling. Maybe if your Friday or Saturday night highlights were waiting in the parking lot of the local liquor store, McDonald’s or climbing fences into private property to drink your Natty Ice in rebellion, you start to see how Danielle Roberts‘ paintings take shape. They have a soundtrack to them, that of boredom, of waiting for something, anything, to happen. That she calls this body of work Idling seems so on point: that suburban, anywhere-America corporate takeover of small town downtowns, just finding a place to sit and bide one’s time, is all here. The gallery mentions this feeling of being the “witness the interplay between alienation and connection,” and that is the condition by which so many Americans can understand, both visually and internally. 

Roberts told us in our interview with her last year that her works were ” like a collage from my experience and mind, maybe a painting of a place I used to live, combined with people I know now.” That is what I mean when I talk about this universal quality and setting of these works. Experiences collaged together from memory and something familiar but often like a dream. There are ways in which we remember our idling times, and it seems like it has returned. —Evan Pricco

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