Massey Klein is pleased to present The End & The Beginning, a two-person exhibition exploring themes of life and death through works on paper by Alice Gibney and Sarah Irvin.
Alice Gibney’s illustrations in The End & The Beginning are humorous explorations of humanoid and animal figures. Her characters twist, rise, dance, and praise; their movement captured through frames as if they are sequences in a stop-motion film. The charcoal, color pencil, and ink on paper drawings range in scale from 1:1 ratio of human proportions to small, intimate sketches.
Gibney’s works were created in response to a sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one. Her figurative drawings began to blur and erode as the artist’s emotional life and identity spread itself across the paper in a performative gesture of mourning and reflection. Celtic myths, slapstick humor, and Samuel Beckett became the beacons of light that shifted the artist’s perspective and made room for grief to evolve into a new tale. And so these characters were born to tell a new story: one wrought with paradoxes and clumsiness. They belong to a world that is not ours, but has the flavor of somewhere familiar. A tent, a child’s playtime sculpture, synthetic wigs, and exaggerated clothing cover their frames and become their bodies.
Gibney is a Canadian artist who lives and works in Berlin, Germany. This is her second exhibition with the Gallery.
Sarah Irvin’s graphite drawings on paper record the experience of new life and motherhood. At various times while breastfeeding, the artist created drawings that codified her daughter's action of eating. Loops go up with a suck and round down with a swallow, transcribing the unreadable language of a baby at the breast. Also while breastfeeding, Irvin used a digital program to track the start time, breast side, and duration of each feeding. From this immense amount of data, the artist created an interactive sculpture resembling a card catalogue that allows the viewer to not only review different sessions, but physically acknowledge the significant amount time and energy needed for an often unacknowledged task.
In the artist’s rocking chair series, the act of caring for a baby is codified as a form of mark-making. Pieces of graphite hung from the underside of Irvin’s glider rocking chair and created marks on a piece of paper attached to the stationary base. The series began when her daughter was born and was completed the day she turned one. Anyone who used the rocking chair during the first year of the child’s life participated in the creation of the works. In addition to the original works on paper, the Gallery will release a limited print edition of the first and last breastfeeding and rocking chair sessions as well as a small edition of breastfeeding record logs for the collector to “complete” on their own.
Irvin is an American artist who lives and works in Richmond, Virginia. This is her first exhibition with the Gallery.