Petzel is pleased to present Time-Slip, a group exhibition featuring works by Huma Bhabha, Joe Bradley, Jennifer Paige Cohen, Jason Fox, Daniel Hesidence, Rodney McMillian, Xie Nanxing, John Outterbridge, and Dana Schutz, on view from May 26 – August 7, 2021 at the gallery’s Chelsea location.
Time-Slip brings together paintings, video, and sculptures that demonstrate nonlinear time frames; an idea of the past, projected into the future, actualized in the present.
The artworks in this show share an explicit relationship with our collective repressed histories, be they arcane and deep, or recent and raw. Each artist demonstrates the ability to engage with multiple time periods at once, oscillating between them with a kindred awareness – the artist as time traveler, and the body as a vessel holding multiple time scales. With immense seed changes in our landscape, the artists that come together in this show offer us the opportunity to experience differential intents, subjectivities, and histories to move us through a slippery sense of reality.
Petzel Gallery thanks all the participating artists and their galleries for their collaboration: CANADA, David Zwirner, Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, Salon 94, and Tilton Gallery.
About the Artists
Huma Bhabha (b. 1962, Karachi, PK) Bhabha’s work addresses themes of memory, war, displacement, and the pervasive histories of colonialism. Using found materials and the detritus of everyday life, she creates haunting human figures that hover between abstraction and figuration, monumentality and entropy. While her formal vocabulary is distinctly her own, Bhabha embraces a post-modern hybridity that spans centuries, geography, art- historical traditions and cultural associations. Her work includes references to ancient Greek Kouroi, Gandharan Buddhas, African sculpture and Egyptian reliquary. At the same time, it remains insistently modern, looking to Giacometti, Picasso and Rauschenberg for inspiration, as well as to science fiction, horror movies, and popular novels.
Joe Bradley (b. 1975, Kittery, ME) has developed a style of visual language that is fluid throughout both the art historical canon and the artist’s personal experiences. Bradley continually reinvents his work in his paintings, drawings, and sculptures, with a profound fluency in iconic modes of art-making that allows him to elegantly move throughout Abstraction, Minimalism, and the gestural mark-making of Abstract Expressionism. Yet it is his awareness of both internal and external influences that frees him to take such ideas and make them all his own, never rooting himself in certainty. To him, the act of painting requires one to travel amongst the infinite conversations of painters past and present, frequently referencing what he calls the “shared space” of painting, an embracing of the relative nature of all visual art.
Jennifer Paige Cohen (b. 1970, Brooklyn, NY) In her latest sculptures Cohen combines plaster and remainders of found clothing into rough yet classically figurative forms. Cohen’s process of collecting worn clothing contemplates the past lives of the bodies that wore them, becoming in effect intuitively imagined portraits. By shaping these remnants into poses borrowed from antiquity, the artist points towards the passage of historical time and considers how histories might be passed down through our bodies. Particularly in our recent times of isolation, Cohen aims as far as manifesting a physical being.
Jason Fox (b. 1964, Yonkers, NY) Fox’s paintings are populated by a superposition of characters, icons from our recent past, children’s book dragons, Redon-esque demons, and solitary shadow artists constructing the conditions they are in. Fox’s intense study of the history of painting and graphic arts merge his slipstream of visual influences into a painting practice that shows a tremendous breadth of humor and pathos. His unique structures of figure on figure occupy the same space at the same time in an arrested synthesis. They mirror the artist before the painting, full of images in his head projected on canvas.
Daniel Hesidence (b. 1975, Akron, OH) Hesidence’s paintings represent a complex materiality, flesh and earth, synthetic constructs, and entropic distortions. The resulting interaction projects an evasiveness and familiarity that provokes one's perceptions. Within his new series “untitled (Ledger)”, line and letter intermix to hold the structures of painting up like a lattice over the eye filled with transparent bodies, archaic symbols, sky, and ground. The artist’s acute awareness of how the viewer synthesizes the visual field is manifest in these paintings that hold the transactions between maker, and observer.
Rodney McMillian (b. 1969, Columbia, SC) McMillian explores the complex and fraught connections between history and contemporary culture, not only as they are expressed in American politics, but also as they are manifest in American modernist art traditions. Aspects of his work negotiate between the body of a political nature and the politic of a bodily nature.
Xie Nanxing (b. 1970, Chongqing, China) When Xie Nanxing was young his father, a strict and demanding teacher, instructed him in a cartoonish mode of illustration. He hated it. For this new body of work, echoing his 2014-2015 untitled series in which he took his mother’s photographs of flowers as a starting point, Xie Nanxing commissioned his father to do some illustrations in the style of those lessons many years earlier. These illustrations, rendered and re-imagined by Xie Nanxing, become the basis for the series The Dwarfs’ Refrain. The first painting in the series begins with a process that has been part of Xie Nanxing’s practice since the mid-2000s, in which a painting based on the photograph of a heavily backlit oil sketch is carefully built up with layers of thinned-out oil paint, however in this instance that delicate multi-layered surface is disrupted by black lines, almost abstract or even gestural in appearance but also evocative of a net, that add a further level of complexity while also having a containing effect on the underlying image. From this painting onwards, and unusually in his practice up to this point, Xie Nanxing uses a number of different approaches to distort his source material – the “dwarfs” are collaged onto garish children’s fabric, are molded with clay, metamorphose into a traditional Chinese landscape – to create a group of paintings that is wide-ranging and rigorous in its formal experimentation while remaining deeply rooted in the artist’s own lived experience.
John Outterbridge (b. 1933, Greenville, NC, d. 2020, Los Angeles, CA) Outterbridge’s work reflects both his roots in the segregated South of the 1940s and 1950s and his involvement in the Los Angeles Black Arts Movement during the civil rights era. Growing up, the re-purposing of discarded materials and objects was a given in his house and in his community. His father moved “junk” for a living and the backyard was filled with old objects, waiting to be fixed and reused. In Los Angeles, Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers represented a powerful example of how fragmented, found materials could be repurposed into an object of beauty.
Dana Schutz (b. 1976, Livonia, MI) is known for formally inventive canvases that combine figuration and abstraction to construct complex visual narratives that engage the capacity of painting to represent subjective experience. Often depicting figures in seemingly impossible, enigmatic, or invented situations, her expressive canvases convey emotions and psychological states of mind that reveal the complications, tensions, and ambiguities of contemporary life.