artist / participant

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press release

Sadie Benning’s paintings feature a combination of materials and colors in highly structured, cut-out compositions. Their lively forms convey a fluid spectrum of possibilities ranging from geometric elements to more figural concerns. The handmade quality of Benning’s works evokes a sense of improvisation as well as an experiential aspect, in which the use of the materials visibly reveals a conversational thinking process.

At the Renaissance Society, Benning presents a new series of paintings inspired by Blinky Palermo’s 1976 work To the People of New York City. The paintings in Shared Eye work within the parameters set forth by the structure and progression of Palermo’s installation, in which thirty-nine chromatic panels appear in a sequence of linear groupings.

Diverging from Palermo’s minimal compositions of red, black, and yellow, however, the works in Shared Eye deftly incorporate photographic imagery. In each case, Benning begins with a digital image, transferred onto the support, and punctuates it with found photographs, objects, and areas of color, generating potential associations between the individual elements. These collage-like techniques create a variety of formal tensions and invite the viewer to draw from their own reference points, whether the works evoke experiences of city life or the haunting presence of historical traumas.

The precise medium of the works, their materials, and how they are made, are difficult to identify at first; they tacitly embrace a questioning of categories. In both form and content, the paintings embody the possibility of destabilizing fixed logics, and they suggest how ambiguity or indeterminacy can assume a political dimension.

Shared Eye is organized in partnership with Kunsthalle Basel, where it will open in 2017.

Curated by Solveig Øvstebø and Elena Filipovic.