Whitney exhibitions to feature 10 emerging artists
NEW YORK – A pair of group exhibitions featuring the work of emerging artists will go on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the first half of 2016. These shows both examine off-kilter and stagey approaches to representation as a means of exploring pressing social issues. The first exhibition, “Flatlands,” highlights recent paintings that provoke a sense of reality as illusion or subjective construction. It will run from Jan. 14 through April 17 in the John R. Eckel Jr. Foundation Gallery on the first floor, which is free to the public. The second show, “Mirror Cells,” on view from May 13 to Aug. 21, will present a single, surreal landscape of sculptures and installations in the eighth-floor Robert J. Hurst Galleries with works that allude to both an otherworldly environment and societal concerns.
“These exhibitions demonstrate that we want to introduce not only new talents but new frameworks for thinking about contemporary art,” said Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s deputy director for programs and chief curator.
‘Flatlands’ – Jan. 14 through April 17
Featuring paintings by Nina Chanel Abney, Mathew Cerletty, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Caitlin Keogh and Orion Martin, this exhibition highlights the unique ways these artists approach reality in their work. Through a range of techniques, styles and subject matter, the paintings that will be on view conjure a sense of space that is reminiscent of the illusionistic scenery flats used on stage and movie sets.
These artists fill their compositions with objects, bodies and places that are based on reality, yet are distorted through exaggeration, recontextualization, simplification or flattening. The individual works are imbued with both the anxiety and uncertainty of our sociopolitical moment as well as the seductive quality of consumerism and physical attraction. “Flatlands” is curated by Laura Phipps and Elisabeth Sherman, assistant curators at the Whitney.
About the artists:
Nina Chanel Abney (b. 1982, Chicago; lives and works in New Jersey) received an MFA from Parsons School of Design in New York. Abney recently had a solo show at Kravets-Wehby, New York. She is included in “30 Americans,” organized by the Rubell Collection and currently at the Detroit Institute of Fine Arts.
Mathew Cerletty (b. 1980, Milwaukee; lives and works in New York) received his BFA at Boston University and has had recent solo shows at Office Baroque, Brussels, and Blum and Poe, Los Angeles. He has been included in group shows at Anton Kern Gallery, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.
Jamian Juliano-Villani (b. 1987, Newark, N.J.; lives and works in New York) received her BFA from Rutgers University in New Jersey. This fall, Juliano-Villani was included in “Greater New York” at MoMA PS1 and “Unorthodox” at The Jewish Museum. She has had recent solo shows at Tanya Leighton, Berlin, and JTT, New York.
Caitlin Keogh (b. 1982, Spenard, Alaska; lives and works in New York) received her MFA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson. Keogh recently had a solo show at Mary Boone Gallery, New York, and is included in a three-person exhibition currently on view at Koenig & Clinton.
Orion Martin (b. 1988, Danville, Va.; lives and works in Los Angeles) received his BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Martin recently had a solo show at Favorite Goods, Los Angeles, and has been included in group exhibitions at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York, and Bodega, New York.
‘Mirror Cells’ – May 13 through Aug. 21
This exhibition brings together artists Liz Craft, Rochelle Goldberg, Elizabeth Jaeger, Maggie Lee and Win McCarthy, who often conceive of interconnected works that suggest strange invented worlds. While each artist creates discrete objects, these works act in direct dialogue with one another – at times alluding to furniture or other functional items – to generate a broader context that extends beyond their individual physical forms. They often make use of humble materials such as wood, resin and ceramic clay, putting a renewed emphasis on the act of making and materiality. The exhibition’s installation will take on an otherworldly quality by using the galleries as a single, surreal landscape.
The title “Mirror Cells” references mirror neurons, specialized brain cells that are activated when observing the behavior of others. Researchers have theorized that these cells allow us to feel the joy and pain of others and associate them with understanding human intention and feelings of empathy. Accordingly, the works presented in the exhibition are often made as empathetic responses to events such as the loss of a loved one, preoccupations of a particular community, or changes that impact the world more broadly. Referencing both fantasy and real-life experience, they address broad concerns like inequality and climate change as well as more personal narratives connected to trauma and loss.
“Mirror Cells” is organized by Whitney associate curators Christopher Y. Lew and Jane Panetta.
About the artists:
Liz Craft (b. 1970, Los Angeles; lives and works in Los Angeles) received a MFA from UCLA. Craft has exhibited widely at institutions including the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Migros Museum, Zurich; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Recent solo gallery exhibitions include shows at Jenny’s, Los Angeles (2015) and Truth and Consequences, Geneva (2015).
Rochelle Goldberg (b. 1984, Vancouver; lives and works in New York) received an MFA from Bard College. Goldberg’s sculptural installations have been on view at the Sculpture Center, the Swiss Institute, Murray Guy, Bed-Stuy Love Affair and Eli Ping Frances Perkins, all in New York; Federico Vavassori, Milan; Freedman Fitzpatrick, Los Angeles; and Plymouth Rock, Zurich.
Elizabeth Jaeger (b. 1988, San Francisco; lives and works in New York) holds a BA from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore. Her sculptural works were featured in solo exhibitions at And Now, Dallas, as well as Jack Hanley Gallery, and Eli Ping Frances Perkins, both in New York. Jaeger co-founded and operates Peradam, a publishing house specializing in small-run artists’ books.
Maggie Lee (b. 1987, Westfield, N.J.; lives and works in New York) received her BFA from Pratt University. Lee has been included in group exhibitions at Greene Naftali and Real Fine Arts in New York and screened her first feature-length film, Mommy, at Anthology Film Archives, New York, and more recently at 356 Mission, Los Angeles.
Win McCarthy (b. 1986, New York; lives and works in New York) received a BA from Bard College. McCarthy’s sculptural installations are often imbued with ideas of personal representation. McCarthy has had solo exhibitions at Off Vendome in New York and Dusseldorf and has been included in recent group exhibitions at Murray Guy, James Fuentes, Bed-Stuy Love Affair, and the Sculpture Center in New York.