Installation view of "Summer Wheat: Full Circle." Photo: Mark Woods.
A guest viewing Summer Wheat's "Nightshade." Photo: Jonathan Vanderweit.
A guest viewing "Summer Wheat: Full Circle." Photo: Jonathan Vanderweit.
Summer Wheat: Full Circle
This exhibition of work by New York-based artist Summer Wheat features a suite of large-scale abstract-figurative paintings that serve as both portals to imaginary worlds and as mirrors that reflect interior states of being.
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The Henry presents "Summer Wheat: Full Circle." This exhibition features a suite of large-scale abstract-figurative paintings by New York-based artist Summer Wheat (U.S., born 1977) that serve as both portals to imaginary worlds and as mirrors that reflect interior states of being.
The paintings in this suite—"Nightshade," "Strawberry Sun," and "Valley of Life with Snake"—are part of a larger body of work Wheat started in 2015 in which she imagined a world for the milkmaid represented in Johannes Vermeer’s seventeenth century painting of the same name that depicts an interior domestic scene. Exploring the sculptural qualities of acrylic paint, Wheat pushes her medium through aluminum mesh, embracing the intuition of felt experience as a way of knowing that rivals conventional forms of reason and logic. The effect creates a textured surface evocative of latch hook rugs and historic forms of wall covering such as woven tapestries to suggest a flattening of hierarchies between the fine and domestic arts and crafts.
“In these paintings, Wheat brings celestial bodies—the sun, moon, and stars—and earthly creatures into a shared pictorial field to consider the relationship between the cosmic realm and human existence,” says Associate Curator Nina Bozicnik. “Wheat’s figural forms and characters have a particularly affective power of conjuring the psychological toll and messiness of the mundane experience and search for meaning, and also the beauty and resilience implicit in this process.”
A series of intimate drawings, made especially for this exhibition, complement the cosmic allusions of the paintings, and artist-made jewelry, also conceived for this exhibition, takes inspiration from the belief that the snake is an intercessor between the earth and sky. Human-scaled, these objects evoke the wearer, a body trying to make sense of life from their position, here on earth.
"Summer Wheat: Full Circle" is organized by Nina Bozicnik, Associate Curator. The exhibition is generously supported by ArtsFund.