Fisher Parrish Gallery is pleased to present Chimera, an exhibition of painting and sculptural works by Hanna Eshel, Rainen Knecht, Emma Kohlmann, Diana Lozano, Jillian Mayer, Bridget Mullen, Adrianne Rubenstein and Katie Stout. Through the use of intuitive processes, bold marks and brightly colored textures, each artist deconstructs the gendered implications of decoration and ornamentality, using forms and surfaces as deceptive vehicles for the emergence of radical impulses.
Adrianne Rubenstein’s gestural paintings depict playful subjects like rainbows, flowers and butterflies—things a 12-year-old girl would dream of—with a similarly raw innocence in her approach to paint on canvas. Her compositions are distinctly unselfconscious and sensually rich, with quick, shifting marks that bend and pulsate. As dreamy, but rather eerier are Rainen Knecht’s dark cast of female characters, who flash toothy, hysterical grins from awkward postures fit tightly within the canvas. They seem to be born from an obscure fairy tale, complete with witch but sans the damsel in distress. Across Bridget Mullen’s layered canvas a cartoonish gaggle of female figures repeat, suggesting movement and time, and implying a perpetual state of becoming. Emma Kohlman’s fluid watercolors depict soft bodies reaching for each other while staring impassively at their audience from a colorful canvas. They are intimate and sensual but comically deadpan, bending into forms like vases, leaves and butterflies, which suggest a sort of narrative symbolism.
There is a unifying sense of vulnerable physicality in the works, whether by physically posturing their user into awkward interaction, or by modeling this uneasiness through depictions of other bodies. Crouching, pastel women contort themselves into usefulness in Katie Stout’s chainsaw-carved bench. Known for her droll and absurdist depictions of female bodies morphing into furniture, her work is both grotesque and exuberant. Jillian Mayer’s Slumpies take a similarly cheeky approach to sculpture and its engagement with the body. Vivid and glittery, as though painted with nail polish, the colorful and clumsily-rendered Slumpies welcome users to sit, recline, or rest on them in postures best suited for staring at your iPhone in a simultaneous invitation to engage the body yet disengage from reality.
Although colorful, bright, and at times humorous, these works remain deeply personal and intimate—they reference loss, personal experience, memory and desire. Through fantasy and play, they illustrate a dark reality. Diana Lozano’s botanical imitations and surrealist renderings of femme accessories redefine ornamentality and symbolic assignation as manifestations of suppressed sensory desires. Each sculpture utilizes symbolic associations to illustrate a deeply personal narrative while deconstructing the complexities of cultural identity and fetishized object-hood. Hanna Eshel’s burlap paintings take a more formal approach to a graphic and fetishized feminine symbolism. Painted nearly a decade before ‘feminist art’ had surfaced in Europe and the United States, Eshel’s neon-red slits in her paintings’ burlap surfaces serve as perhaps a more subtle predecessor—grounded in a more earthly as opposed to surreal depiction of the feminine mystique.
Like its eponymous female fire-breathing Greek mythical creature, CHIMERA presents a fantasy of disparate parts of female identity as seen by 8 artists. Using intuitive and gestural techniques, these works compose a uniquely complex character that is both playfully humorous and intimately vulnerable.
Hanna Eshel (b. 1926, Israel) studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1952 where she completed advanced studies in painting and fresco. She currently lives in New York. Eshel has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1954.
Rainen Knecht (b. 1982, Tacoma, WA) received her BFA in 2006 from the San Francisco Art Institute where she studied painting. She currently lives and works in Portland. Her work has recently shown at Fourteen30 Contemporary in Portland, Capital Gallery in San Francisco, Various Small Fires and Either Way in Los Angeles, and Stems Gallery in Brussels, Belgium.
Emma Kohlmann (b. 1989, New York, NY) received her BFA from Hampshire College in 2011 and currently lives and works in Western Massachusetts. In addition to her watercolor and sumo ink paintings, Kohlmann publishes her own artist’s books, records and zines. Kohlmann has exhibited nationally and internationally at Greenpoint Terminal Gallery, Printed Matter, Cuevas Tilleard Projects, New Release, Cinders Gallery in New York; Nationale, Ampersand Gallery and The Portland Museum of Art in Oregon; Mata Gallery, New Image Gallery, Phil Gallery and Minotaur Projects in Los Angeles; V1 Gallery in Copenhagen; 68 Projects in Berlin; KIT Gallery and Big Love Gallery in Tokyo.
Diana Lozano (b. 1992, Cali, Colombia) received her BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 2013. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn. She has shown at AMO Studios, La Mama Galleria, Splatterpool Art Space and former 99¢ Plus Gallery in New York, Casa Prado in Colombia, and Open Space in Baltimore. She works primarily in sculpture and mixed media installation.
Jillian Mayer (b. 1984, Miami, FL) received her BFA from Florida International University in 2007. She currently lives and works in Miami and Los Angeles. A recipient of the Creative Capital Fellowship, Mayer has shown at MoMA PS1, the Guggenheim, MoCA:NoMi, and the Musée d’art Contemporain as part of the Montreal Biennial. She has been included in film festivals such as Sundance, SXSW, and the New York Film Festival and featured in ArtNews, Art Forum, and The New York Times. Her video, installation, and performance work often explore digital experience and identity.
Bridget Mullen (b. 1976, Winona, MN) received her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art in 2006 and BAE from Drake University. She has attended residencies at The Jan Van Eyck Academy, The Lighthouse Works, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Roswell Artist-In-Residence Program, The Fine Arts Work Center, and Yaddo. Recent group show venues include The Blackburn Gallery at the EFA, Yui Gallery, Fisher Parrish Gallery, Hometown, and Tiger Strikes Asteroid in New York; Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles; Kristian Day Projects and Assembly House in the UK. Earlier this year, Mullen had a solo show at Annet Gelink Gallery in Amsterdam, NL and is a current awardee of a rent-free studio from the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program in Brooklyn, NY.
Adrianne Rubenstein (b. 1983, Montreal, QC) received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2011. She lives and works in New York. She has exhibited with CANADA and White Columns in New York, The Pit in Los Angeles, Galerie Bernard Ceysson in Luxembourg, Field Contemporary in Vancouver, and David Petersen in Minneapolis. Her curatorial projects include work with Brennan & Griffin and Snail Salon in New York.
Katie Stout (b. 1989, Portland, ME) received her BFA in 2012 from the Rhode Island School of Design where she studied furniture design. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn. She was the winner of Ellen’s 2015 Design Challenge. Stout has shown work with R & Company, Karma, and Johnson Trading Gallery in New York, Blum & Poe in Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara, and Gallery Diet in Miami.