Collette Blanchard Gallery is pleased to present "The Brand New Heavies", curated by Mickalene Thomas. The exhibition will be on view from January 23 - March 8, 2009 and will include three dynamic contemporary artists innovatively working in fundamental mediums. Lauren Kelley, Deana Lawson, and Jessica Ann Peavy present recent work conveying salient sentiments through means that are at once, sensual, opulent, and psychological.
The works of all three artists offer staged scenes, referencing theater and performance, while incorporating embellished caricatures through collaboration with and/or commentary on their varied subjects. Lauren Kelley's videos present meticulous, comprehensive, fictitious narratives in overwhelming detail. In "Get Bones from 88 Jones", Barbie dolls, an array of plastic sweets, sculpted elements and malleable, inconstant clay form an accelerated narrative satiated with the metaphorical implementation of materials and imagery. Kelley's whimsy informs the happenings in the love life of a librarian with detail similar in degree to the sculpture crafted by Liza Lou. The environments in Kelley's work also resonate with the staged frames in the work of photographer, Deana Lawson. In "Anna" the everyday patterned couch blending with the drapes in the background is disrupted by the sequins adorning and condition of the thin, staid figure. The minimalist palette and compositions of Lawson's work bring to mind paintings by Barkley Hendricks and the videos of Jessica Ann Peavy. Peavy's "A Conversation Piece" also references intimate relationships as "Get Bones from 88 Jones", though in this case the sensual narratives are articulated through tales of food-making and consumption as two videos play simultaneously and transverse from each other. Similar to some work of Chantal Akerman, Peavy's piece incorporates pauses and static frames, giving the viewer an opportunity to contemplate the different ways in which women communicate which each other. One character speaks candidly about food likes and dislikes, while the other vivaciously recalls an anecdote of food preparation, nourishment, intimacy and rejection.
Lauren Kelley received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently participating in the Core Residency Program in Houston. Deana Lawson, who has been included in several exhibitions over the past year, was recently interviewed by Tova Carlin for Time Out New York, and received a MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Jessica Ann Peavy graduated with an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. Recent recipient of NYSCA, Peavy's work is currently on view at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and will be included in an upcoming show at the Bronx River Arts Center.
This exhibition is Mickalene Thomas's curatorial debut. She graduated with an MFA from Yale University and currently shows with Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York, Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, and Susanne Vielmetter Projects in Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in various catalogues and reviewed in Art in America, The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Post, NY Arts, Modern Painters, Essence, Whitewall, Frieze, and Artforum.