“WE RUN THINGS” Exhibition

Y Gallery (319 Grand St.)

poster for “WE RUN THINGS” Exhibition

This event has ended.

Y Gallery presents WE RUN THINGS, a group show curated by Cecilia Jurado, featuring monumental paintings by three female artists: Summer Wheat (US), Mie Olise (Denmark), and Manuela Viera-Gallo (Chile). Each artist has created a particular universe where traditional gender roles are upended, fears are revealed, and the tension between a nomadic life versus a stationary existence are examined.

The works traffic easily between images of nature and urban life, and derive power from the border between figuration and abstract expressionism. Materiality is a crucial ingredient in all the works, contributing to the intense mood of the show.

The title of the exhibition comes from Summer Wheat’s painting, which in turn borrows its title from a small painting she once saw in a thrift shop in Georgia. In her words: “The image in the work was of a large ship at sea with roaring waves crashing onto the boat. The only occupants of the ship were African Americans. The entire work was painted with thick impasto layers to exemplify the white caps of the water. The small hands of the men were strong and made of thick brown strokes holding onto paddles in the water during a storm. Inscribed within the paint application was text that read: “WE RUN THINGS” in all capital letters; it looked like it was inscribed with the point of a paper clip carved into wet paint.”

Wheat’s version of this title explores ideas of female empowerment through the lens of Egyptian pictography. While looking at renderings of men pouring water, cutting fish, and moving carts around, (essentially “running things” in daily life), Wheat sought to superimpose a series of women into their places, thereby telling the same story a bit differently.

Currently she is making large-scale tapestries entirely out of paint. In the same way that Gustave Courbet’s work challenged the traditions of painting by depicting ordinary people on a heroic scale, this work aims to do something similar. In medieval times large-scale tapestries were hung primarily behind royal thrones and used as symbols of authority. These works seek to reapply the idea of a large-scale tapestry by re-contextualizing their use and imagery.

In Mie Olise’s latest work, she investigates modern ruins and how they are deserted and reoccupied, in horizontal layers, with new architectural strategies taking a great departure from the original ideas about their function and appearance. In architectural terms, breaking with the initial established idea is called a ”dishonest construction”, which is the name Olise uses for her recent series. This is a new approach in relation to her former works, which juxtaposes various perspectives of displaced ships and houses in disrepair. Olise has taken all the symbols that she has worked with over the last eight years and created an alphabet of objects. In the new work these objects are arranged flat, next to each other, in a system which can also viewed as a construction falling apart.

Chilean artist ManuelaViera-Gallo was born during her parents’ exile in Rome, Italy, leading her to develop a point-of-view which has been strongly shaped by the social and political violence that has affected the history of most Latin American countries and created a constant flux of migration. Consequently, her work engages preoccupations, anxieties and fears derived from her own experience. Her artistic practice presents a multidisciplinary approach that departs from absurdity to manipulate and distort known symbols into an allegorical, fantastical, and darkly comical framework that allows her to claim ownership.

One of the most striking qualities of her series Hiding from inside is how the work uses a metaphoric, bricolage-like language as its technical and reflective model. Bricolage in this case is not merely a plastic, technical way of working, rather, it is also a way of thinking (as indicated by Lévi-Strauss in The Savage Mind). For example, in one of Viera-Gallo’s pieces, I’m afraid of human beings, we see a hidden face in the jungle staring out at the public. This hidden face could be a wolf, a bird with human eyes, or a symbolic magnet attracting those who care to see. The symbolic faces in Viera-Gallo’s three paintings are made of paper and painting on wood. The many layers of this poetic, sometimes confusing landscape, seduce the viewer, catching her with these animal-human eyes, like a predator catching its prey.

I’m afraid of human beings is an exercise in figurative abstraction where the imagery comes to life with the narrative of dreams, fears, and instability: a vast but familiar place in the mind of the contemporary artist. Loneliness, vigilance, and secrecy are the three motors of the series. Like the destruction caused by a hurricane, Viera-Gallo’s painting brings to life the confusion of our days, and the city’s natural tendency toward savagery and chaos.

Summer Wheat (b. 1977, Oklahoma City, OK). Her work is included in recent museum exhibitions, ICA COLLECTION: EXPANDING THE FIELD OF PAINTING, The Institute Of Contemporary Art Boston (2013-2014), PAINT THINGS: Beyond The Stretcher (2013), De Cordova Museum And Sculpture Park, Paradox Maintenance Technicians: A Comprehensive Manual To Contemporary Painting From Los Angeles And Beyond (2013) At The Torrance Art Museum (Torrance, CA). She is currently presenting the solo show Pry The Lid Off at Oklahoma Contemporary Museum. Summer Wheat has completed residencies at Triangle Arts Association International Residency Program (2012), (NY, NY), BRIC Arts Media Brooklyn, Contemporary Art Center (2009) Artist of the Month (NY, NY), and Graduate Residency program at Lacoste School of the Arts (2004), (Lacoste, France). Summer Wheat is the recipient of the NADA Artadia Award for 2016 given to one artist showing at the fair. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Mie Olise (b. Denmark, 1974), her work has focused on the theme of the”man-made construction” through which she investigates both the nature of architectural construction as well as how a construction describes the society it is a part of. Mie Olise has traveled to societies in different stages of disrepair: twice to the Arctic Circle to investigate an abandoned Russian mine town, The Pyramid, and to New Foundland in the tracks of the writer/character Espen Arnakke (which was the topic of her solo show at Kunsthalle Nikolaj (DK) in 2012). At the moment Mie Olise is having a solo exhibition, Discontinued Monuments, at Museo de Arte Acarigua, Venezuela, as well as a solo exhibition, Dishonest Constructions, at Vestjyllands Kunstmuseum in her native Denmark. Olise has exhibited at UMOCA - Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, MFAH - Museum of Fine Art Houston, MAAA, SNYK - Skive New Museum of Art, (DK), Torrance Art Museum in LA. In recent years she has been based between London, New York, and Copenhagen, as well as travelling to residencies in Iceland and Skowhegan.

Manuela Viera-Gallo (b. 1977, Rome, Italy), is a Chilean artist living and working in New York. Viera-Gallo’s is represented by Y Gallery were she has had two solo shows: Jauja (2015) and Behind Closed Doors (2010). She has participated in group shows at El Museo del Barrio, Art Museum of the Americas, Asymmetrick Arts Center, Chelsea Art Museum, and East Asia Contemporary Museum. She was part of the 5th Biennial do Mercosur-Brazil, the 10th Biennale of Video and Media Arts of Chile, CIF Camdem International Film Festival, and in 2015 she represented Chile in the Bienal de las Fronteras.



from August 08, 2016 to September 06, 2016

  • Facebook


    All content on this site is © their respective owner(s).
    New York Art Beat (2008) - About - Contact - Privacy - Terms of Use