November 01, 2014 – January 03, 2015
Opening Reception November 01, 2014 5-7pm
Shoshana Wayne Gallery is pleased to present Down the Hole and into the Grain an exhibition of new sculptures by Jeanne Silverthorne. This is the artist’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery.
Continuing to use her trademark rubber, Silverthorne expands her decades-long exploration of the ruins of the studio into an ever-widening search for lost things. Digging deeper and deeper into the archeological layers of the decaying site of production, the artist searches for lost actions, lost people, lost art and art forms, hidden, covered-over places.
Silverthorne says, “When you are looking for something that has been lost, you look everywhere and you look closely. You look minutely, microscopically. And once you start looking so intently, you lose all sense of proportion. Like Alice pursuing her fleeing rabbit down the rabbit hole, apparitions flit, fear and nonsense rule. Hallucinations ensue. Scale shifts, forms stretch and shrink. Anything can happen now. Emotions are at a hysterical pitch—off with her head.”
Here are posthumous portraits, as well as three portraits of the artist--dismembered, trapped, and finally as a wingless fly with tennis shoes. Here are scraps of casting debris—drips and excrescences from molds—saved, enlarged, and incidentally referencing classic abstraction. Reality warps. Insomnia abets derangement. In the dark, many of the works glow phosphorescently. As if in a morphine dream, bugs come out of the woodwork. Boxes speak or turn into over-sized coffee mugs. Sunflowers commit suicide. Chairs turn into crates. And rubber crates--the functional silicone crates actually used for storing and shipping the work, inevitably recalling and rejecting Judd’s boxes-- lure us into the unknowable space of deep storage.
While noting the dark humor of the work, critic Nancy Princenthal has written that the rubber studio floor boards which sprout weeds and insects “seem to have forged unlikely paths toward light.” These signal “the mortality of the . . . edifices meant to keep nature at bay . . . the vital processes at work, unseen, within the structures that house us.” Thus beetles encroach on a large plank of crazily enlarged wood grain. Meanwhile caterpillars infest the pile of rubber shavings left over from the carving out of that pattern. There is an inaudible chomping throughout—as though all is forever being consumed—by teeth, by flies, by history, by time: “Beware the Jabberwock . . .The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!”
While engaging here with a kind of “dereglement de tous les sens,” Silverthorne’s processes remain stubbornly handmade and physically laborious. Figures and other shapes are modeled in clay, molds and rubber castings are executed in studio. The crates are likewise built there and covered with the rubber sheets that involve “painting” with different colors of silicone to create the wood grain effects. The bas relief carving in some of the wood grain is likewise done by hand. Along the way, a wide range of art historical associations is evoked, from Minimalism, Pop Art, Biomorphic Abstraction and Surrealism to traditional portraiture and still life, all within a conceptual framework that responds to a present historical shift – effected by theoretical discourse, digitalization, and increased capitalization—away from the once iconic, “privileged” and problematic space of the private studio.
Jeanne Silverthorne lives and works in New York. She has exhibited extensively in prestigious institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA to name just a few. Silverthorne is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including the National Endowment for the Arts Critic’s Fellow Award, the Penny McCall Foundation Grant, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award.
For more information please contact Alana Parpal [email protected]
Upcoming Exhibitions., Jeanne Silverthorne - Down the Hole and into the Grain