P·P·O·W is pleased to present works by Elijah Burgher, Kyle Dunn, Joe Houston, Guadalupe Maravilla, Carlos Motta, Chiffon Thomas, Robin F. Williams, and David Wojnarowicz.
Using painting, drawing, and printmaking, Elijah Burgher (b. 1978) works at the crossroads of representation and language, figuration and abstraction, and the real and imagined. Drawing from mythology, ancient history, the occult, and ritual magick, Burgher cultivates a highly intimate code of sigils and emblems imbued with magical power to investigate the personal and cultural dynamics of desire, love, subcultural formation, and the history of abstraction. However, at the core of this multifaceted practice, Burgher “aims to know whether an artwork, any artwork, can possess meaning—to truly embody it somehow.” Burgher received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute, Chicago and a BA from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. His work was featured in For Opacity: Elijah Burgher, Toyin Ojih Odutola, and Nathaniel Mary Quinn at the Drawing Center, 2018; the 2014 Whitney Biennial (selected by Anthony Elms); the 2014 Gwangju Biennial (as part of AA Bronson’s House of Shame); and The Temptation of AA Bronson at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; among others. He was recently a resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Fire Island Artist Residency. Burgher’s work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Art in America, Art Review and Artforum, among others. He lives and works in Berlin.
Imbuing his sculptural paintings with liquid eroticism and cinematic drama, Kyle Dunn (b. 1990) intertwines autobiographical as well as fictional narratives to express the vibrancy of the masculine emotional landscape not often represented in popular visual culture. Capturing the simultaneous anxiety and nascent hope of our present moment, Dunn’s lush, luminous, and physiologically charged paintings render contorted figures in spatially deceptive environments to reveal the chronic cognitive dissonance between desired freedom and recognized obligation. Dunn lives and works in Queens, NY and received a BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). His work has been included in exhibitions at Little Berlin, Philadelphia, PA; Nationale, Portland, OR; Part 2 Gallery; Oakland, CA; and Ground Floor Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, among others. P·P·O·W presented Into Open Air, Dunn’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, in 2020. Dunn will present a solo exhibition of new works at Galerie Maria Bernheim, Zurich in June 2021.
Rendered with virtuosity in oil on linen, Joe Houston’s (b.1962) latest body of work is centered on the damaged genitalia of ancient Greek and Roman statuaries displayed in museums throughout Europe and North America. In Houston’s intimate paintings, isolated acts of iconoclasm are emblematic of the body as a perennial site of religious, political, and societal contestation. Houston’s emasculated icons examine the persecution and presentation of male desire, while also addressing the veneration and censure of art and artifacts across time and cultures. 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. RUINS, Joe Houston’s first solo exhibition with the gallery since 1993 will open in our gallery viewing room on Friday, May 7, 2021.
Combining sculpture, painting, performative acts, and installation, Guadalupe Maravilla (b. 1976) grounds his transdisciplinary practice in activism and healing. Part of the first of unaccompanied, undocumented children to arrive at the United States border in the 1980s as a result of the Salvadoran Civil War, Maravilla explores how the trauma undocumented immigrants experience physically manifests in the body. Maravilla received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts, and his MFA from Hunter College in New York. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. He has received numerous awards and fellowships including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 2019; Soros Fellowship: Art Migration and Public Space, 2019; Joan Mitchell Emerging Artist Grant, 2016; and The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation Award 2003, among others. Seven Ancestral Stomachs, Maravilla’s recent exhibition at PˑPˑOˑW, was reviewed in the New Yorker, The New York Times and Forbes, among others. Planeta Abuelx, a solo exhibition of newly commissioned works, will open at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, NY on May 15, 2021.
Carlos Motta (b. 1978) examines multicultural political histories of those oppressed for their sexuality and gender in projects that engage an array of media, including installation, video, photography, and sculpture. Motta’s most recent works, which were made in quarantine, are ceramic death masks of artists and activists. An homage to Motta’s personal queer pantheon, each mask is also presented in a complimentary photographic composition inspired by the subjects’ work and life. PˑPˑOˑW will present two works dedicated to José Leonilson (1957-1993), whose poetic works in painting, drawing and embroidery synthesized art historical allusions, contemporaneous discourses in critical theory and his own lived experience. Leonilson died of AIDS-related causes in 1993. His haunting final body of work was presented at Americas Society, New York, NY in 2018. Carlos Motta received his MFA from Bard College and completed the Whitney Independent Study Program. His work was the subject of survey exhibitions including Carlos Motta: Formas de libertad at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, Colombia (2017) Matucana 100, Santiago, Chile, and Carlos Motta: For Democracy There Must Be Love, Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg, Sweden. His work is in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Barcelona; and Museo de Arte de Banco de la República, Bogotá, among others.
Erin M. Riley (b. 1985) received her BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art. Her work has been included in solo and group exhibitions at P·P·O·W, New York; Jonathan Hopson Gallery, Houston; Galerie Julien Cadet, Paris; Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden; The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs; Gana Art Gallery, Seoul; among others. Riley is the recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship Grant, 2021 and an American Academy of Arts & Letters Art Purchase Prize, 2021 and has completed residencies at The MacDowell Colony, New Hampshire and the Museum of Art and Design, New York.
Chiffon Thomas (b. 1991) has developed an interdisciplinary practice incorporating embroidery, collage, drawing, and sculpture. Embracing the liminal space between figuration and abstraction, Thomas’ “impossible bodies” forcefully eschew easy classification in order to serve as vessels for personal memories and collective narratives. Reminiscent of the diverse, mixed media practices exhibited by David Hammons, Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Nevelson, and Faith Ringgold, Thomas’ own application of materiality is a unique language for translating both shared and personal experiences. Identifying as a non-binary queer person of color, Thomas contends with the crafted body in their work, examining wider issues of gender, race and sexuality. Thomas holds an MFA from Yale University and a BFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. They have completed residencies with the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME and the Fountainhead Residency, Miami, FL. Their work is in the permanent collections of the Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL and the Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH. Thomas' work was featured in the recently released publication Young, Gifted and Black: A New Generation of Artists. Their work is currently featured at SculptureCenter, Long Island City, NY in the group exhibition In Practice: You may go, but this will bring you back and their solo exhibition, Antithesis, is on view at Kohn Gallery.
Robin F. Williams (b. 1984) juxtaposes a variety of techniques, including oil, airbrush, poured paint, and staining of raw canvas to create deeply textured and complexly constructed paintings. In pastel works on paper bursting with color and large-scale paintings, Williams creates a universe of stylized women, fusing early modernism, pop culture, and the staged informality of advertising to challenge systemic conventions of representation of women. Known for her large-scale paintings of stylized, sentient, yet ambiguously generated female figures, Robin F. Williams’ pastel works began as the compositional roadmap to her complexly constructed paintings. However, they have since transcended this original purpose to become the emotional core of her practice. Williams was born in Ohio and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Recent exhibitions include With Pleasure at Various Small Fires, Los Angeles, as well as numerous group exhibitions nationally and internationally including Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York; Flag Art Foundation, New York; and Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York. P·P·O·W will present Williams’ fourth solo exhibition with the gallery in October 2021.
David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) was among the most incisive and prolific American artists of the 1980s and 90s. P·P·O·W will present The Boys Go Off to War, 1983, a large-scale and little-known hybrid of painting and collage. Featuring reconfigured American maps, a motif that recurs in some of Wojnarowicz’s most iconic works, this painting juxtaposes racks of aging meat with two shirtless male figures, one with their arm draped suggestively over the over. Wojnarowicz’s work has been exhibited at 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. David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night, co-curated by David Kiehl and David Breslin, opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art in July 2018. The widely acclaimed exhibition has been reviewed in Artforum, The Guardian, The New York Times and The New Yorker, among others. The retrospective traveled to the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid in May 2019 and the Musee d/Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg City in November 2019. A concurrent exhibition of Wojnarowicz’s films and photographs opened at the KW Berlin in February 2019. Wojnarowicz: Fuck You Faggot Fucker, a comprehensive feature-length documentary directed by Chris McKim, premiered in November 2020 to rave reviews.
A keen visual stylist, Martin Wong (1946-1999) developed highly innovative approaches to technique and form. Rich surfaces and intricate details define his signature style, while his compositions are formed from architectural space, graphic text, constellations and ASL hand signals. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Wong painted several interpretations of the Statue of Liberty. Exhibited at EXIT ART in 1998, Liberty, 1986, depicts a smiling, diverse group of children in the crown’s observation deck. These black and brown children reinforce Lady Liberty’s testament to America’s embrace of immigrants but, of course, the United States infrequently lives up to this pledge. Martin Wong exhibited for two decades at notable downtown galleries including EXIT ART, Semaphore and P·P·O·W, among others. His work is represented in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Bronx Museum of The Arts, and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Cleveland Museum of Art; The Art Institute of Chicago; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; among others. Human Instamatic, a comprehensive retrospective, opened at the Bronx Museum of The Arts, New York, in 2015, and traveled to the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio in 2016 and UC Berkeley Art Museum in 2017.