John Gutmann
I am the Magic Hand, 1937
Gelatin silver print
11 x 14 inches
27.9 x 35.6 cm
Courtesy of The John Gutmann Photography Fellowship Trust

© 1998 The Center of Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents, The University of Arizona

Allison Katz
Cabbage (and Philip) No. 3, 2013
Oil on linen
16 x 20 inches
40.6 x 50.8 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Johan Berggren Gallery, Malmö, Sweden
Carmelle Safdie
 
Color Options for April 24, 2013, 2013
Soft pastel, oil pastel and rubbing wax on newsprint mounted onto paper
187.5 x 47.75 inches
476.3 x 121.3 cm
 
Leaf Motif 6, 2013
Soft pastel on newsprint mounted onto paper
187.25 x 47.75 inches
475.6 x 121.3 cm
 
Color Options for April 30, 2013, 2013
Soft pastel, oil pastel and rubbing wax on newsprint mounted onto paper
186.25 x 47.75 inches
473.1 x 121.3 cm
Lisa Milroy
Stripes, 2013
Mixed media: oil on canvas, acrylic on fabric, thread, clay, wood, nail, hanger
Approx. 68.5 x 45.25 x 9.825 inches
174 x 115 x 25 cm
Courtesy of the artist
Paula Wilson
Between Two, 2010
Silkscreen pigment, acrylic, felt, paper, canvas, woodblock prints, spray paint on steel armature
Approx. 120 x 156 inches
304.8 x 396.2 cm
 
Collaboration with the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia
Jane Corrigan
The Story Teller, 2013
Oil on canvas
14 x 16 inches
35.6 x 40.6 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Kerry Schuss (KS Art), New York
Allison Katz, Carmelle Safdie, Jane Corrigan, John Gutmann, Lisa Milroy, Paula Wilson
I Am the Magic Hand - organized by Josephine Halvorson
May 31 - July 19, 2013
VIEW PRESS RELEASE PDF
Sikkema Jenkins & Co. is pleased to present I Am The Magic Hand, a group exhibition organized by Josephine Halvorson that brings together the work of Allison Katz, Carmelle Safdie, Jane Corrigan, John Gutmann, Lisa Milroy, and Paula Wilson. The exhibition takes its title from a chalk inscription on a wall that appears in John Gutmann’s 1937 photograph of the same name. The outline of a hand and the inky stains of handprints surround the text, drawing attention to human presence and the animate nature of the wall itself. The works in this exhibition, like the wall, show traces of their makers yet speak in the first person. They emit their own liveliness.

Heads of cabbage pose for their picture in Allison Katz’s canvasses, which sit atop shelves made by Liudvikas Buklys. The cabbages’ untrimmed, languid leaves suggest natural informality, yet they’re in the spotlight, confidently attracting the attention of a man as he breathes in their earthy scent. On one hand, these are amorous images placed as keepsakes on shelves for visitors like us to notice. But on the other, painting itself is nature morte. Like cabbage, it exists in a vegetative state: aroused but not necessarily conscious.

Carmelle Safdie’s long banner-like rubbings evince a literal closeness to the individuals whose graves they mark. The gravestone, newsprint, chalk pastels, and Safdie’s gestures fuse together, creating a new layer of experience between the artist and the dead. What we see are instances of this encounter, preserved in pigment, and a metaphor for art. These color studies, as Safdie refers to the works, shift between the inert and the animate.

In Jane Corrigan's shoulder-width paintings, strokes of oily color become figures in action, forever unaware of being watched. Like a dream, these scenes are conjured yet undetermined, where Corrigan is a viewer into a world that she herself creates. The discernable paths of the paint and the enigma of the narrative form a riddle that Corrigan hands to us in a shared pursuit of interpretation.

Lisa Milroy’s life-sized painted dresses step away from flatness towards a willing body. We are made aware of our own nakedness and the way fabric feels against skin. The passive stance of painting is inverted: personal space is threatened, a seduction forthcoming. Or, the dress steps back into the frame of the pictorial after being out in the world, embodying memories of its wearer, a vestige of another time and place.

Between Two, Paula Wilson's freestanding tapestry made in collaboration with the Fabric Workshop and Museum, takes an impression of an urban façade. Felt, canvas, and paper blot the living history of two buildings, their residents, and passersby, picking up in relief architectural details and the sense of accrued time. Brick by brick, the seams of labor construct a composite identity, whose portrait is made by Wilson, and recognized by us.

-Josephine Halvorson


I Am The Magic Hand is organized by artist Josephine Halvorson. Halvorson works on site, collaborating with the environment to make paintings that become records of experience and time. Her work has been exhibited internationally and is represented by Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York, and Galerie Nelson-Freeman, Paris. She is the recipient of several grants and awards, including a US Fulbright Fellowship to Vienna, and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant. Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Artforum, ParisArt, Modern Painters, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and The Brooklyn Rail, among others. A recent article written by Halvorson appears in the Winter 2012 issue of ArtJournal. She teaches painting at Princeton University and The Cooper Union, and is a critic in the MFA program at Yale University. Halvorson lives and works out of Brooklyn, New York.