Siobhan McBride makes dreamy paintings. Not heartthrob-dreamy — although some of them are — but rather “am-I-awake?”-dreamy. It’s not always obvious what’s going on in “Strong Winds May Exist.” Like the show’s title, the works themselves occupy an unpredictable, edgy place between sentient and subconscious activity. The couple dozen paintings on display are uniformly rendered in gouache, and they achieve an opaque, wonderfully textured thickness that adds a dream-like filter to the already strange scenes.
The works are modestly proportioned, but their petite dimensions are rich in provocative imagery that incorporates real and imagined elements. The puzzling circumstances of “Aquarium,” with its curious assortment of shimmery green and blue fish tacked on or suspended before a wall, give it a deliciously haunting ambiguity that’s just shy of spooky. “Long Letter” is more menacing. The painting is divided into two distinct scenes; on the left is an ochre stretch of hallway and on the right is a pitchy black neighborhood, dominated centrally by a house illuminated with hot pink floodlights. “Path” is rich in symbol and possibility. Hovering over a flat green plateau populated with dollhouse-like houses and cozy driveways is a line of cleanly geometric shapes: triangles, ridged rectangles, segmented squares. “Strong Winds May Exist” is strange and familiar, in equally intriguing parts.