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press release

Clementine Gallery announces the opening of This is a descending world. an exhibition of new work by Robyn O'Neil. The show will run from Friday, February 16 to March 17, 2007. A reception for the public will be held on Friday, February 16, from 6-8 PM.

In the essay for the catalogue that accompanies O'Neil's exhibition, Shamim Momim writes: Robyn O'Neil's graphite on paper drawings, alternately epic and intimate, always intricate and precise, have cumulatively imagined a realm characterized by pervasive anxiety and melancholy beauty, where the threat (or promise?) of death may be the most powerful constant across her oeuvre. This is a descending world. makes explicit from its titular selection forward that this ongoing struggle between, at its simplest, good and evil is pushing for final resolution. The apocalypse has arrived, and it may offer some strange relief to the relentless, anxious current of fear and judgment that streams through all of O'Neil's work.

The central piece of this exhibition is a mural sized-drawing, in fact the largest single drawing the artist has ever made. Loosely based on the medieval allegory "The Ship of Fools", the narrative has come to speak for ideas of human loss and futility, of searching without goal, seeking without intent, drifting without intention, and typically destroying oneself along the way. In the work, hundreds of men set off from a barren shoreline, presumably escaping for their lives, struggling to stay afloat as they drift, somewhat aimlessly, unpowered, on decrepit, rudimentary rafts. There is no land in sight, only water, waves, and a darkening lid of a sky.

Robyn O'Neil's work was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, TX, which traveled to the Frye Museum, in Seattle, WA, and the Johnson Museum at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. She was included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial and was featured in Vitamin D., a survey of contemporary drawings published by Phaidon Press. This will be her third exhibition at Clementine.

Robyn O´Neil
This is a descending world