Among the recurring subjects in Gray Wielebinski’s wide-ranging practice are interests in mythology and everyday materials, and how those disparate themes can reflect and shape our identities. These preoccupations have a way of colliding in playful and arresting ways in Wielebinski’s work—like, for instance, the artist’s July 2019 solo show at London gallery Seager. That show’s centerpiece was a sprawling sculpture fusing the mythological figure of the sphinx and the astrologically charged image of the scorpion. At once cartoonish and ominous, the hybrid creature was stitched together from fragments of clothing, including leather and denim.
The Seager show came after a busy 2018 for Wielebinski: That year, they had two solo exhibitions in London and a two-person show in Hong Kong, and four of their screenprints were acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This summer, Dallas gallery 12.26 returned from lockdown with a solo show of Wielebinski’s latest work, this time taking up the gender-bending Greek myth of Tiresias and the two snakes. The exhibition deconstructed and reassembled familiar signifiers of masculinity and machismo, including stylized images of rodeo clowns; baseball cards stitched together with pornographic images; and a painting executed on a modified leather vest. Like so much of Wielebinski’s oeuvre, the works have an irreverent quality. But they are also bristling with intensity and charged with the many (often conflicting) associations of the materials they fuse into exciting new forms.
In the months to come, Wielebinski will be included in shows at London’s Public Gallery and Hales Gallery—the latter of which will also show the artist’s work in its Frieze London online viewing room this October—and at Krefelder Kunstverein in Krefeld, Germany.
The Artsy Vanguard 2020
The Artsy Vanguard 2020 is our annual list of the most promising artists shaping the future of contemporary art. This year, artists are organized into two categories: Newly Emerging, which presents artists who’ve gained momentum in the past year, showing at leading institutions and galleries; and Getting Their Due, which identifies artists who have persevered for decades, yet only recently received the spotlight they deserve. Now in its third edition, the feature was developed by the Artsy staff, in collaboration with our network of international curators and art professionals. Explore more of The Artsy Vanguard 2020.
Benjamin Sutton is Artsy’s Lead Editor, Art Market and News.
Header and thumbnail image, from left to right: Gray Wielebinski, “Revenge Fantasy,” 2019; Portrait of Gray Wielebinski by Ian Byers-Gamber; Gray Wielebinski, “Hook,” 2018; Gray Wielebinski, “Dark Air,” 2019. All images courtesy of the artist.