Mixed Greens is thrilled to present Mary Temple’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery. For true enough, Temple debuts lush paintings on canvas and panel—text based abstractions embedded with philosophical and political phrases culled from cultural observation. Temple’s vibrant new work fills the gallery with color as each piece unfolds in layered narratives based on themes of trust, truthfulness, transparency, and doubt.
As in the artist’s series, Light Installations (2002-Present), in which trompe l’oeil environments occupy the space between knowing and not knowing, Temple’s new work continues to implore the reevaluation of received truths. In the painting “UNKNOW, UNKNOW,” former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld’s now notorious, made-up phrase, “the unknown known”, is sent-up. Imploring the Rumsfelds of the world to unknow, Temple’s clarion call seeks leaders who consider doubt an asset to decision making.
In “Terrible Swift Sword,” an eviscerated, dense field of slashed pinks, at once lushly fleshy and sickly pale, makes it all but impossible to mend together the chopped eponymous phrase from “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” The beauty and repulsion evoked in this piece speak to Temple’s beliefs about “the conflicted feelings many Americans have about the necessity and implementation of this country’s recent wars.”
While “Untitled, Begin Again (all the paint scraped from a failed painting on fresh canvas)” is the only work in the show absent text, it is the title, in this case, that is integral to understanding the work. The otherwise pristine unprimed canvas is smeared and piled with stutters of paint that have been scraped from an earlier, failed, still-wet painting. Far from codified abstraction, it evokes Ezra Pound’s phrase “The artist is always beginning. Any work of art which is not a beginning, an invention, a discovery is of little worth.” Invention is at the heart of Temple’s new work, and each piece finds a different path to discovery.
Mary Temple was born in Arizona, and now lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Recent solo venues include the Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin; Bethel University Olsen Gallery, Saint Paul, MN; Rice University Art Gallery, Houston, TX; The Museum of Arts and Design, NYC; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT. Group show venues include Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe, Japan; Bunkamura Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Museum of Biblical Art, New York, NY; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN; SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM; DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, IL; The Drawing Center, NYC; deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA; Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE; Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Western Bridge, Seattle, WA; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA; SculptureCenter, LIC, NY; The Mattress Factory Art Museum, Pittsburg, PA; The Jewish Museum, NYC; and the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD, among many others. Temple is the recipient of the 2010 Saint-Gaudens Memorial Fellowship, the 2010 Basil Alkazzi Award for Excellence in Painting, and a 2010 and 2007 Fellow in Painting from NYFA. Current and future permanent public commissions include MS114 East Side Middle School, NYC; MTA Q Line, Neck Road Station, Brooklyn, NY; Mickey Leland Federal Building, Houston, TX; UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, San Francisco, CA; and Percent for Art Permanent Artwork Commission, McCarren Park, Brooklyn, NY.