Metro Times // Zoe Beaudry wants to open your chakras in latest exhibit ‘And And And And’

Metro Times // Zoe Beaudry wants to open your chakras in latest exhibit ‘And And And And’

The Detroit-based painter’s photorealistic work is a safe haven for vulnerability

By Randiah Camille Green on Fri, Mar 31, 2023

Artist of the week: Zoe Beaudry

Zoe Beaudry is deeply dissatisfied with the lack of connection between human beings in our conscious state.

“On every level — an interpersonal level but also a systemic level — the way that our society works reinforces separation,” she says. “The way that our lives are structured is very much ego-driven and I feel deeply sad about that and the way that it harms people.”

The young painter’s solution to fostering the interrelatedness she finds the world lacking is through her photorealistic figurative work of naked subjects. By centering their vulnerability, she hopes to draw a visceral response from the viewer that roots them in their energetic bodies.

The paintings in her latest exhibit And And And And at Playground Detroit are an invitation for openness as her subjects personify the seven chakras and what it might look like when those energy centers are aligned.

In one piece, a woman crosses her arms across her chest as a halo radiates behind her head. A blue light Beaudry installed behind the painting glows at the subject’s third eye. Her stance is protective but her eyes are warm and loving. It’s appropriately titled, “To Be Seen.”

“It’s about being in your own body and feeling more embodied… or not, you know?” Beaudry explains. “One really good way to feel more connected to your life is grounding in the body because if you aren’t able to do that in the present moment, the natural state of the world is going to cause you to put up a lot of armor. Being able to at least have moments or spaces where those defenses can come down is what allows for opening up.”

Zoe Beaudry’s “To Be Safe.” Courtesy of the artist and Playground Detroit

Two versions of a young man face each other surrounded by an ethereal yellow aura in Beaudry’s “To Be Safe” painting. His eyes are closed on one side and open with an-all knowing smile on the other. This is solar plexus energy, the third chakra.

“I wanted to make something that felt a bit more overt about being present with oneself,” she says about the piece. “I think of the solar plexus as the center of self-regard, self-esteem, and trusting intuitive guidance. It’s the egoic self and then the higher self smirking at them a little like a ‘don’t worry, you’re fine’ kinda thing.”

And then there’s the painting of a dead bird, who looks oddly peaceful despite having had its heart ripped from its chest.

“It’s a metaphor for the violence that is imposed on or done to people by some sort of unseen or unknowable force,” Beaudry says.

The Lansing-born, Detroit-based artist obtained her Masters of Fine Art from the Glasgow School of Art in 2018 and has shown work throughout the Midwest and internationally in Israel, the UK, Australia, London, and Chicago. She has facilitated youth workshops in Tulkarem, Palestine, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and Kalamazoo, and has done residencies at Kriti Gallery in Varanasi, India, and The Forge in Detroit.

She’s one of Playground Detroit’s 2022 Emerging Artist Fellows.

Where to see her work: And And And And is on display at Playground Detroit until April 29. 2845 Gratiot Ave., Detroit; She will also be participating in a group show at Highland Park’s 333 Midland Gallery in July.

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