Summer Wheat, solo show, Gamekeepers at Andrew Edlin Gallery, NYC
Summer Wheat: Gamekeepers, will be presented in two parts, concurrently at Andrew Edlin Gallery and at the Frieze Art Fair, New York (May 4 – 7,Booth #C07).
Since medieval times the gamekeeper’s responsibility has been to manage an area of countryside, maintaining the land for the benefit of wildlife until the inevitable hunt. Inspired by this archetype and employing her innovative painting technique, Summer Wheat (b. 1977, Oklahoma City) has created a series of works that depict women from different eras engaged in the act of hunting. Taking their visual cues from ancient Greece, a number of Wheat’s paintings pay homage to goddesses like Athena and Artemis. In the case of Stepping on Snakes, there is a decided nod to Madison Avenue, as taloned, high-heeled shoes are seen digging into the flesh of writhing snakes.
In addition to her signature paintings, Wheat has created a series of tulipière sculptures under the guidance of a 9th generation Sicilian ceramic artist using clay dug from the region. Each vessel is painted with elaborate hunting scenes and crowned by a female hunter fighting a different animal: snake, alligator, jaguar, or lion. Various mythologies often personify these animals in relation to women. Snakes are a symbol of transformation; alligators represent knowledge because of their lengthy time on earth; jaguars are agile and aggressive predators; lions sleep with their eyes open. Popular in seventeenth-century Europe as objects of luxury, tulipières served as ornate vases with multiple spouts for growing tulips. A large standing tulipière was considered a status symbol for its owner. For Wheat, this symbol of power is reconsidered as a marker of
Summer Wheat’s recent works arise from the progression of a years-long effort to harness the form of paint as a three-dimensional object. Utilizing a radically original technique of pushing acrylic paint through wire mesh, she creates rich, fiber-like surfaces, which evoke historic forms of wall coverings such as woven tapestries or latch hook rugs. These works and their materiality ultimately suggest a flattening of the hierarchies between fine art and domestic arts and crafts, and evoke a feminist sensibility by embracing the intuition of felt experience. Wheat lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. In 2016, she was awarded the Artadia Prize at NADA New York, and her work is included in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art. Recent exhibitions include Inside the Garden at Smack Mellon (Brooklyn, 2018), Full Circle at the University of Washington’s Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, 2017), and Noble Metal at Braverman Gallery (Tel Aviv, 2017).