Claire Sherman, Palms Wild
02.19.2011 — 04.16.2011
Kavi Gupta Gallery is proud to present Palms Wild, a new exhibition of paintings by New York artist Claire Sherman. Comprised of five massive landscape paintings, Palms Wild furthers Sherman’s practice of representing how we conceive of nature.
Named in part after William Faulkner’s novel Wild Palms (1939) (doubly titled If I Forget Thee Jerusalem), Sherman’s works are similarly interstitial, nomads wandering a historical plain that divides the landscape of nature. Termed ‘the bifurcation of nature’ in his landmark The Concept Of Nature (1920), mathematician Alfred Whitehead shows how natural science in modernity conceived of nature as having matter as its primary substance and the Cartesian ‘secondary qualities’ or attributes by which we recreate nature as a representational system (e.g. Linnaean taxonomy or Humboldt’s tropical narratives).
Translated to aesthetic terms, Sherman’s works begs the question of whether the historical distinction between abstraction and representation is necessitated. As an example, one of Sherman’s new works Cactus (2010) takes the well-known Saguaro cactus that populates Arizona and Mexican Sonora as its subject. Popular in roadside neon signs and various other cultural ephemera, the cactus is known through an extensive system of signs as much as it is by its formal existence. Other works in Palms Wild include foreboding cave entrances and forestscapes that nod to German romantic Caspar David Friedrich, reminding us that in each work a brushstroke suggests the sublime complexity of the natural world and our attempt to understand it as image.
Claire Sherman (b. 1981 in Oberlin, Ohio) lives and works in New York. Sherman’s paintings have been exhibited throughout America and Europe, including in 2009 solo exhibitions at Galerie Hof & Huyser in Amsterdam and Houldsworth Gallery in London. Select group exhibitions where Sherman was exhibited include Future Tense: Reshaping The Landscape (2008) at Neuberger Museum Of Art in Purchase, NY, and Personal Tempest (2011) at Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth, UK. Sherman completed her M.F.A. degree at The School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago in 2005. In addition, she is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships. Palms Wild (2011) is Sherman’s third solo exhibition at Kavi Gupta Gallery.