Holly Coulis, Jenny Dubnau, Angela Dufresne, David Fertig, Dennis Kardon, Elizabeth King, Elizabeth King & Richard Kizu-Blair, Matthew Miller, Sarah Peters, Rona Pondick, Alexi Worth
Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs | 11-03 45th Ave.
Curated by Lilly Wei
The artists of Uncanny/Figure—Holly Coulis, Jenny Dubnau, Angela Dufresne, David Fertig, Dennis Kardon, Elizabeth King, Richard Kizu-Blair, Matthew Miller, Sarah Peters, Rona Pondick, and Alexi Worth—believe that a visual lexicon dedicated to the figure and descriptive representation is still exciting and innovative, not nostalgic. One reason for their renewed interest in figuration might be that in an age of the increasingly virtual, it reaffirms the importance of our bodies, reminding us that we are more than incorporeal mind.
What seems more topical is the idea of the uncanny which informs the other half of the exhibition’s theme. The uncanny also has a long history, as periods of enlightened, measured rationality alternate with periods of the surreal, the supernatural, the grotesque and the sublime. It is a word that appears with great frequency of late, reflecting an anxiety that is global, mirroring realities that ricochet through all levels of our lives, from the social and political to the personal and psychological.
Uncanny/Figure is ultimately a looking glass world, in which the real is mirrored and returned to us with distortions, or the distortions are returned to us as real, where nothing is quite fixed or what we expected. Its artists take our familiar world and propose another one in its place, spun through their savvy, wayward minds, unruly figuration in tow—with their agile hands as executor—to tell us tales about the human condition.
Lilly Wei is a New York-based independent curator and critic whose focus is contemporary art. She has written regularly for Art in America since 1984 and is a contributing editor at ARTnews. Wei has also written for Sanat Dünyamiz, Sculpture Magazine, Studio International, Flash Art, Art Press, Art Asia Pacific, Brooklyn Rail, Randian, Art & Australia, and Art & Auction, among other publications. She has frequently reported on such international biennials as Venice, Sydney, Cairo, Reykjavik, Shenzhen and Hong Kong and large international exhibitions such as Documenta and Sonsbeek. She has written on and has interviewed and reviewed countless artists, including Magdalena Abakanowicz, Xu Bing, Paul Chan, Francesco Clemente, Chuck Close, Diana Cooper, Tara Donovan, Theaster Gates, Alex Katz and Ragnar Kjartansson.
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