Mitchell-Innes & Nash is pleased to announce Justine Kurland: Sincere Auto Care, on view at the gallery’s Chelsea location from September 4 – October 11, 2014. This will be the gallery's third solo exhibition of Kurland's work, and will coincide with a group exhibition titled Days Inn, curated by Justine Kurland, at the gallery’s 1018 Madison Avenue location.
Kurland is known for her utopian photographs of American landscapes and the fringe communities, both real and imagined, that inhabit them. For her last exhibition at the gallery, The Train is Bound for Glory (2009), Kurland spent two years driving through the expansive American West documenting trains in open vistas and the subculture of train-hoppers and drifters around them. The 2007 series Of Woman Born, also photographed on the road, features unclothed mothers and their children whom Kurland met and befriended along the way.
For her most recent series, on view in this exhibition, Kurland returns to a purely documentary style in the tradition of Walker Evans. Cars, the culture of the mechanic, and the open road are Kurland's subjects, drawing on her 12 years of experience with life on the road. The photographs in Sincere Auto Care balance two competing narratives: the first is the car as an aspirational symbol of freedom, sex, the American Dream, and the second is the bleakness of daily life behind the scenes.
With this body of work, Kurland presents a reality where utopia and dystopia are not polar opposites, but rather fold together in an uneasy coexistence. The formal elegance of the photos and Kurland's eye for teasing romance and beauty out of her subjects gives rise to a sense of detached optimism, or as Kurland herself describes, a place “where beauty is found not because the world is beautiful but because it is beautifully described.”
Justine Kurland was born in 1969 in Warsaw, New York. She received her B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts (SVA), NY, in 1996, and her M.F.A. from Yale University in 1998. Her work has been exhibited extensively at museums and galleries in the U.S. and internationally. Recent museum exhibitions have included More American Photographs, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; Off the Grid #1 and Off the Grid #2, Fotodok, The Netherlands; The Kids are All Right, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA, which traveled to John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI, and Weatherspoon Art Museum, NC; America in View: Landscape Photography 1875 to Now, RISD Museum, Providence, RI. Her work is in the public collections of institutions including the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and the ICP, all in New York; the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC; and the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal.