The Armory Show
March 8 – 11, 2018
P • P • O • W is pleased to present historical and contemporary works by Ramiro Gomez, Joe Houston, Erin M. Riley, Hunter Reynolds, Betty Tompkins, Robin F. Williams and David Wojnarowicz.
Ramiro Gomez (b. 1986) depicts the people whose labor often goes unrecognized and underappreciated by society. At The Armory Show, we will present a recent painting in anticipation of Gomez’s debut exhibition at P • P • O • W, his first solo exhibition in New York City, which will open on March 22, 2018. Gomez first gained recognition for what is now described as his Hockney series, works that reimagine David Hockney’s iconic Los Angeles paintings, and his imagery is often focused on the scenery and social politics of southern California. For his newest work, his critical inquiries around race, labor and representation will focus on New York City. Gomez has exhibited at the University of Michigan, Institute for the Humanities and the West Hollywood Public Library as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. His work has also been featured in group shows at notable institutions including: the 2017 Whitney Biennial; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Denver Art Museum; Blanton Art Museum, University of Texas at Austin; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; and the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, Florida; among others. Domestic Scenes: The Work of Ramiro Gomez, a monographic catalog by Lawrence Weschler, was published by Abrams in 2016. His work is currently on view at the National Portrait Gallery as part of its group exhibition The Sweat of Their Face: Portraying American Workers.
Joe Houston (b. 1962) distills views of the everyday world into iconic images that examine our uneasy relationship to the natural environment and, ultimately, to one another. Executed with exacting detail and nuance, his evocative works also serve as a meditation on the precarious endeavor of painting in our time. HOLD 2017, depicts a hand grasping a restless bird, an overt gesture of humankind’s dominion over nature as well as a metaphor for the artist’s relentless struggle to capture an image and arrest the viewer’s gaze. For Houston, it also refers covertly to his decision to put painting on hold for two decades, while he pursued an alternate practice as a contemporary curator and author. The Armory Show marks his return to painting and to P • P • O • W, which represented him from 1984–1996. Houston pursued undergraduate studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and earned his MFA from Northwestern University’s Department of Art Theory & Practice. His honors include an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, and residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell Colony and the Bemis Foundation. His work is in numerous collections including the Allen Memorial Arts Museum, MIT List Visual Arts Center, RISD Museum and Yale University Art Gallery.
Erin M. Riley (b. 1985) is a fiber artist who renders erotic and psychologically raw imagery in hand-dyed wool tapestries. P • P • O • W will present a series of large-scale still lifes of the evocative objects that are autobiographically sourced, but so common and fraught as to symbolize ongoing political struggles for empowerment and liberation in the 21st Century. One such work, Violation 2017, depicts a table strewn with a parking ticket, DVDs, birth control pills, guitar picks, nude selfies, a paperback edition of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and a single red rose. Collectively these objects are both intimate and universal, as well as painful and pleasurable. The juxtaposition of immediately relatable imagery with laborious craftsmanship has continued to characterize Riley’s practice. Her work addresses the contemporary conditions of image saturation and ubiquitous vanity, as well as an ingrained history of defining women’s identities through the production of images. Riley received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston (2007) and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia (2009). Recent solo exhibitions include Brilliant Champions, Brooklyn NY (2016), Hashimoto Contemporary, San Francisco (2016), Joshua Liner Gallery, New York (2015), and Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco (2015), among others. Her debut exhibition at P.P.O.W will open on May 31, 2018.
Hunter Reynolds (b. 1959) P•P•O•W Patina du Prey’s Queen Mirror Vanity, an installation from 1990 that serves as a dressing station for Reynolds’s alter- ego Patina du Prey. Originally presented at Simon Watson Gallery (1990) and the ICA Boston (1993), this work consists of a photographic archive of Patina's various performances (documented by Michael Wakefield and Maxine Henryson); a large rose-gold vanity mirror with the word Queen etched into its surface; printed multiples such a Healing Palm card and the Freedom Poster, fans and shopping bags; and related costume elements like the “Who Loves You” jacket 1990, and the Anne de Cybelle Hair Dress printed by Chrysanne Stathacos 1991.
Betty Tompkins (b.1945) is best known for paintings, drawings, and collages that appropriate images of graphic sexuality to explore the tension between representation and experience. At The Armory Show, P • P • O • W will be debuting a new series entitled “Apologia”, an ongoing project of transcribing apologies issued in response to accusations of sexual violence or harassment onto art historical images. A recent diptych on differently reproduced text book images features Chuck Close’s public statement on the body of Holofernes in Artemesia Gentileschi's “Judith Beheading Holofernes”. We will also be exhibiting recent works in her series of “Women Words,” which the artist initiated in 2010. In this series, disproportionately crude and sexual language mined from an international network of email contacts obscure female figures. Spanning the Renaissance to the mid-20th Century, this series harnesses and subverts Western art historical narratives that, until recently, have lionized only men’s contributions. Recent solo exhibitions include Virgins, P•P•O•W, New York (2017); Betty Tompkins, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels (2017), Betty Tompkins, Kunstraum Innsbruch, Austria (2017) and Betty Tompkins, Ribordy Contemporary, Switzerland (2018). Tompkins work has recently been included in The Feminist Avant-Garde from the 1970s: Works from the SAMMLUNG VERBUND, Stavanger Art Museum, Norway (2018) and Historias da sexualidade, Sao Paulo Museum of Art, Brazil (2018).
Robin F. Williams (b.1984) utilizes a variety of techniques, including oil, airbrush, and the staining of raw canvas, to create lush, deeply textured paintings. Following the critical reception to Williams’s 2017 exhibition Your Good Taste is Showing, her third solo exhibition with P • P • O • W, we are pleased to present two new works that further her exploration of bold, surreal figures. The complexity of her methods is accentuated by layered narratives and internal contradictions revealed in her subjects. Williams's practice operates at the intersection of genre painting and portraiture, taking influence from Modernist painters and 70s advertisements to depict women, and the occasional man, in unexpected poses and uncertain places. These scenarios humorously explore the absurd standards to which women are still expected to conform and the ridiculous situations in which they often find themselves. In her review of Your Good Taste is Showing, Roberta Smith of the New York Times wrote: "These painting are timely, but they are also enigmatic, off-putting and out there in rewarding ways.” Robin F. Williams was born in Ohio and lives and works in Brooklyn. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She has been included in numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally. Williams has been honored as the Josephine Mercy Heathcote Fellow at The MacDowell Colony and the 2010 Brooklyn Academy “Playbill Artist.”
David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) was an undeniable presence in the New York City art scene of the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s. P • P • O • W will present a new edition of his seminal Untitled (One Day This Kid) 1990-91, one of the his best known and most widely published works, in ten languages: Arabic, English, German, French, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. Originally made when the artist was battling AIDS, this piece frames his childhood portrait with a list of abuses he will encounter once he discovers his sexuality. This expanded edition will be presented with a colophon by Cynthia Carr documenting the artist’s intention to translate this work into many languages, a goal unrealized before his untimely passing. Wojnarowicz’s work has been included in solo and group exhibitions around the world, at institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The American Center, Paris, France; The Busan Museum of Modern Art, Korea; Centro Galego de Art Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; The Barbican Art Gallery, London; and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne. His works are in permanent collections of major museums nationally and internationally and his life and work have been the subject of significant scholarly studies. Wojnarowicz has had retrospectives at the galleries of the Illinois State University in 1990, curated by Barry Blinderman and at the New Museum in 1999 curated by Dan Cameron. A third retrospective, David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night, co-curated by David Kiehl and David Breslin, will open at the Whitney Museum of American Art in Summer 2018.