Denny Dimin Gallery is pleased to announce Highly Worked, a solo exhibition by Kennedy Yanko, on view from February 1st to March 10th, 2019. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.
Kennedy Yanko is a sculptor who searches salvage yards for cast-off materials--such as copper, marble, and tin--that she then combines with “paint skins,” a signature medium of Yanko’s that is created by pouring pigmented paint into a malleable field. These skins imbue her sculptures with color, organic shapes, and smooth textures, and their fleshly forms stand in contrast to the industrial and manufactured components with which they are joined.
Highly Worked builds on Yanko’s prior body of work that gains much of its power from the origins, transformations, and surprising contradictions of her materials, as well as her interest in tracing the body’s touch in otherwise industrial forms. Her 2018 installation Feel For at BRIC, for example, incorporated a reclaimed tin ceiling and natural materials such as moss and water, establishing a call-and-response between the visible histories of these objects and their repositioning. For her exhibition at Denny Dimin Gallery, Yanko has reworked a salvaged copper drain pipe into eight sculptures--seven that hang on the wall, one that stands on the floor.
Yanko’s sculptures for Highly Worked evoke the performance of their making. Yanko bends, welds, and crushes the metal into the desired shape, a process that leaves traces alluding to the physical process of creating the works. Yet Yanko conceives of metal as a material that, to her, is “quite soft”: Through her manipulations of the copper, this infrastructural element becomes, to Yanko, “delicate,” and the discarded refuse is, almost alchemically, transformed into an artwork that is graceful, even fragile. There is a playfulness in the soft, flowing, colorful paint skins, which, like living forms, fold between creases of metal and curve around the sharp corners therein.
Choosing copper as her primary medium for this body of work, Yanko alludes to the history of painting on copper, which was widespread in northern and southern Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, when it was deployed as both a support and a luminous background capable of imparting jewel-like surfaces. Incorporating her “skins” as articulate gestural strokes and limiting their palette to the colors of oxidation (greens, blues, reds, oranges), Yanko directly references artists’ methodologies from the Renaissance when copper was used to enhance the depth and potential of color laid upon it.
Kennedy Yanko was born in 1988 in St. Louis, Missouri. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, California. Yanko has been included in numerous acclaimed exhibitions including Alchemy, curated by Elizabeth Ferrer and Jenny Gerow at BRIC in Brooklyn; The Aesthetics of Matter, curated by Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont at VOLTA, New York; and Hidden in Plain Site, curated by Derrick Adams at Jenkins Johnson Projects. Yanko has been awarded with Artist Residencies including Fountain Head in Miami, Florida. Her work has been featured or reviewed in Hyperallergic, Vice, Artcritical, Galerie Magazine, the Observer, and ArteFuse.