EXHIBITED IN NEW YORK
Joan Wadleigh Curran : Endurance
JULY 21 - AUGUST 14, 2016
SAVERY GALLERY, in association with MIYAKO YOSHINAGA, is pleased to announce Endurance: a solo exhibition of recent paintings by Philadelphia-based artist Joan Wadleigh Curran exploring the beauty and resilience of objects cast aside.
This exhibition is on view at Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery, located at 547 West 27th Street, 2nd Floor, in the Chelsea Art District of New York City.
Endurance - Stan Mir
Imagine this: you get up in the morning, eat breakfast, use the toilet, shower, and walk out the door. Your neighbors are an extension of the security state. They’ve got a camera on their porch. They can watch what you do at any hour, on repeat if they please.
You walk to the drugstore. They’ve got a few cameras of their own. You need a few things. Deodorant, toothpaste, a new comb. After using your bankcard to pay, the cashier puts these things in a plastic bag for you. When you get home, you put these things away.
Your neighbors are chopping down one of their trees. You go outside for a look. Absentmindedly, you take the empty bag with you. A gust of wind comes and carries it away. The bag ends up stuck in a tree. You’ve seen some like this before.
You call a friend and describe your morning. The call ricochets through some cell towers before your friend answers. There are so many things to care about, you say. The chopped tree, the plastic bag. Someone might listen to your call. They could decide you’re no threat.
Joan Wadleigh Curran’s paintings come from this world. Like scholar’s rocks, the paintings in Endurance, ask us to contemplate the erosion of the private into the public. The tree in “Transmission” is just one of the receptacles we share our secrets with. This is the New Age.
The average viewer at the Met looks at a painting for seventeen seconds. How much does one care about the detritus in the street? Curran, in a painting like “Security,” applies an intimate touch to the bag suspended in the tree. Is anyone actually behind those cameras?
Curran is drawn to things thwarted. The laundry basket, detergent bottles, and tubing in “Stack.” The snow fencing in “Security” and “Notice” are more like trash in the summer. But in Vermont in winter they keep the drifts from piling high.
These paintings imply a connection to the body – the artist who has arranged the objects – the bodies that have cast them off. There are the nets in “Cast Away,” an extension of one’s arms. There’s the partially obscured “No Trespassing” sign.
All of these things have been acted upon. William Carlos Williams insisted “No ideas but in things.” Curran doesn’t paint the human figure. But she has nurtured every thing in her work. The ordinary receives her slow, methodical attention.
If an artist cares about what’s been cast off, where is beauty? It’s here. Right next to ugliness. They have always been siblings. In Curran’s work, one never taunts the other. There’s never an, Oh yeah, you think you’re pretty; wanna see how ugly I can be!
Curran’s eyes become our eyes. She’s always asking us to imagine this, except she never provides a narrative. Why would she need to? We’re already living amongst these things.
Stan Mir is a poet and critic. His writing on art appears in Hyperallergic Weekend.
SAVERY GALLERY is pleased to announce Endurance : Joan Wadleigh Curran
A solo exhibition of recent paintings, presented in association with Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery.
On view July 21 - August 14 at 547 West 27th Street, 2nd Floor, in the Chelsea Art District of New York City.
A reception will be held Thursday, July 21 from 6 to 8 pm. The Artist will be present.
Curran’s paintings explore the beauty, resiliency, and impermanence of discarded objects, building materials, items cast aside, things lost, and the natural world in the midst of it all.
In his essay written for the exhibition, Stan Mir asks of us: “The average viewer at the Met looks at a painting for seventeen seconds. How much does one care about the detritus in the street? ….Curran’s eyes become our eyes. She’s always asking us to imagine this, except she never provides a narrative. Why would she need to? We’re already living amongst these things.”
Her paintings walk a narrow line between portrait and landscape, challenging the viewer to come to a conclusion. Among the works in the exhibition are ‘Transmission’, a large-scale oil on canvas which interweaves the blank reflector shields of a cell phone tower with thick evergreen tree branches that wrap the structure, vibrant and in motion; and ‘Security,’ a rich field of a Mars-like color overtaken with seemingly disparate objects like security cameras, amputated tree trunks, and unraveling blankets that, when seen as a collection, appear to be drawing closer together.
Again, from Stan Mir: “Like scholar’s rocks, the paintings in Endurance, ask us to contemplate the erosion of the private into the public. The tree in ‘Tranmission’ is just one of the receptacles we share our secrets with. This is the New Age.“
JOAN WADLEIGH CURRAN received her BS in Art at Skidmore College and her MFA at Yale University in New Haven, CT. Her work has received grants from the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts in 2006 and 1987. She was a disciplinary finalist for the Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2001 and 1993, and received grants from the Independence Foundation in 2016, 2009, and 2004.
Curran’s work has been exhibited nationally at the Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, the Anchorage Museum, the Columbus Museum, High Museum of Art, and the Naples Museum, and internationally at the Courtauld Institute, London, as well as in numerous galleries across the northeast, She has received residencies at the Ballinglen Foundation, Ucross, Yaddo, VCCA, Hambidge, Stonehouse, and Studio in the Woods. Recently, she curated the city-wide public art project IMPRINT for The Print Center funded by PEI.
Curran lives and works in Philadelphia. This is her second exhibition with Savery Gallery.