Jessica Stockholder Kissing the Wall: Works, 1988 - 2003

  • Feb 13, 2005 – May 8, 2005
Installation view: Weatherspoon Art Museum, 2005.

Jessica Stockholder is widely considered one of the most innovative artists working today. Her work does not just cross boundaries; it blows them wide open. Sculpture, painting, collage, assemblage, and installation wrap into, out of, and around one another, eliminating the need or ability to consider any single genre independently. Her work not only connects the dots; it links colors, forms, lines, and spaces into always surprising relationships.

Stockholder has been known largely for her site-specific installations in this country and abroad. Throughout her career, however, she has balanced production of these monumental, multi-dimensional, and theatrical endeavors with self-contained works that reflect a more intimate, human scale. In 1988 Stockholder created Kissing the Wall — a “piece of furniture with paint wrapped around it and a light that was pointing at the wall” — initiating the smaller assembled works that are featured in this exhibition. Through these assemblages (in which the artist processes painterly and sculptural ideas that concern her) and collages and monotypes (intimate “sketches” in which she explores the pictorial tradition of framed space), we gain further insight into Stockholder’s creative process.

She assembles commonplace found objects and raw materials, culled from the home and Home Depot, in such a way as to invite magic and possibility into items we normally perceive as having little aesthetic value. The resulting work is optimistic, energetic, fun, and as formally and intellectually rigorous as any to be seen today. With a keen historical awareness, Stockholder has looked to sources as diverse as Matisse, Cezanne, the Cubists and Robert Rauschenberg, as well as Minimalism, Allen Kaprow’s 1960s Happenings, and the post-minimal “scatter” art of Robert Smithson. Through her sharp conceptual lenses, Stockholder synthesizes these influences to produce highly original and intensely visual essays on the physical and perceptual experience of space.

Co-organized by Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston, and Weatherspoon Art Museum at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, Jessica Stockholder: Kissing the Wall is the first exhibition to look at this side of Stockholder’s work in depth and throughout a fifteen year period of production. This exhibition and its catalogue are generously sponsored by the Altria Group, Inc. Major support was provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Houston Endowment, Inc., The National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and the North Carolina Arts Council.

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