Opening Reception: September 6, 2019 7-9pm
On View through September 29, 2019
Curated by Eileen Jeng Lynch
Trestle Gallery is pleased to present Shoshanna Weinberger: Allegories of the Invisible, a solo exhibition of the artist’s work spanning from 2014 through 2019, including several new pieces. Weinberger’s works on paper, paintings and sculptures depict resilient female archetypes as corporeal sites of cultural and social agency. She subverts assumptions and antiquated stereotypes surrounding racial and cultural identity, specifically the sexual objectification of women. Her collaged and painted silhouettes as well as cutout sculptures portray abstracted, peculiar female muses—some dominant, others passive—with exaggerated physical features, such as lips, hair, legs, and buttocks. With the absurdity of the “malformed” shapes and dark humor, Weinberger’s work possesses a unique seductiveness and intrigue while questioning the ideals of beauty and portrayal of women’s bodies as objects of male desire in the media and popular culture, perpetuating desensitization. Weinberger reframes and challenges societal conventions surrounding the representations of beauty, identity, gender, and race. With an interracial Caribbean and American background, Weinberger further examines the complexities of her immigrant heritage, especially in a xenophobic Zeitgeist—exploring the dichotomies of invisibility and visibility, exclusion and inclusion, presence and absence.
Weinberger creates female prototypes that are not identifiable. Bulbous buttocks and legs, multiple breasts and lips, and unruly hair provide the figures with seemingly animalistic characteristics, resonating with the grotesque. These figures possess a history, a past—and serve as psychological sites of tension and anxiety as Weinberger alludes to the notion of otherness in marginalized, black bodies. Dissecting these characteristics, Weinberger states, “I approach my practice much like a visual anthropologist cataloging my private and public experiences to create ‘collections’ and composing my findings as specimens.”
Throughout her work, Weinberger conflates cultural, political and social histories as well as myth making with the present. She continues to expand on the external and internal persona in her muses—examining the macro and micro—which she began over a decade ago. Weinberger categorizes the former as “Strange fruit,” which comments on the exploitation of feminine bodies, and also references jazz singer Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit, which was based on a poem about lynching written by Abel Meeropol, a Jewish schoolteacher from the Bronx. This song protested American racism and the lynching of African-Americans.
In the sculptural installation A Grove of Strange Fruit (2018), Weinberger creates a mirrored platform upon which double-sided mirrored figures are intertwined, reflecting the visitors and urban environment—serving as a source of contemplation. Her new sculpture Hanging Fruit Peels (2019), suspended from the gallery’s ceiling, is created from the off-white vinyl backings of A Grove of Strange Fruit. It possesses a corporal shape—a metaphor for a gathering of bodies and communities—as if providing a direct reference to the racial violence of African-Americans. Weinberger often creates reverse silhouettes to highlight the invisibilities of otherness.
In grids of her muses, Weinberger subverts the masculine, modernist, repetitive grid to form her own cabinet of curiosities. In Posthumous Pin-Ups (2014), Weinberger depicts rows of female celebrities who are icons of beauty, such as Eartha Kitt, Elizabeth Taylor, and Anna Nicole Smith, to pay tribute to those who passed away too soon. With graffiti-like gestures along with smeared, overlapping lips of gold paint, Weinberger focuses on objectification and violence rather than the stories of splendor and love. Breaking away from the grid, The Blackout Drawings from the “Excluded Included” series (2016-ongoing) are installed salon style; these tactile works on paper are created from ink, gouache and collage. With a few hot pink lips and a singular gold one on selected works among a sea of darkened portraits, this series focuses on the symbolism of the lipstick as the first piece of makeup toward a passage into woman or the beginning of a first sexual encounter.
In other works on paper and collages ranging in various sizes from 2014-2019, Weinberger spotlights her internal conflicts as well as continues to push the materiality of her process, combining printed and hand painted gestures. Invisible Visibility Snap Shots (2015) comprise a grid of outlined portraits as if they would appear in a yearbook. Seen as “dopplegängers,” these headshots are anonymous portraits, alluding to the invisibility of blackness and passing, while she explores her bi-racial identity as well as double-consciousness and alienation. In One Pink Sunset Among my Midnight Selfies (2019), Weinberger highlights a silhouette of a bust in a gradation of pink among a black grid of ghosted portraits with dark lips. The “Sunset Selfies” series is Weinberger’s newest exploration of the “Invisible Visibility” series that investigates self-defined and created identities—specifically her personal relationship with intersectionality and otherness—using the familiar social media composition. The colors recall those found in a tropical sunset—signifying her birth place and background. Weinberger constructs a portal for the viewer—as if providing an intimate glimpse into the artist's psyche.
About the Artist
Allegories of the Invisible is Shoshanna Weinberger’s first solo exhibition in New York. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Weinberger received her MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2003 and her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1995. Her work has been exhibited across the world in numerous solo exhibitions as well as notable group exhibitions. She has also been the recipient of several awards, residencies, and grants, including a 2014 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, 2016 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts, 2015 Joan Mitchell Center AIR residency in New Orleans, and 2017-2018 Project for Empty Space AIR residency, Newark, NJ. Her work is in several permanent public collections, such as the New Jersey State Museum, Newark Museum, Sagamore Collection, Girls Club Collection, and Margulies Collection, and Davidson College. Weinberger was recently appointed 2019-2020 McMillan Stewart Endowed Chair in Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
About the Curator
Eileen Jeng Lynch is the Curator of Visual Arts at Wave Hill, where she organizes the Sunroom Project Space for emerging artists, co-curates exhibitions in Glyndor Gallery, and is involved in all aspects of visual arts programming, including publications and the annual Winter Workspace program. Jeng Lynch is also the Founder of Neumeraki, which collaborates with artists, organizations, and galleries on curatorial, consulting, writing, and editing projects. Curatorial projects include exhibitions at Trestle Gallery, The Yard: City Hall Park, LMAKbooks+design, Sperone Westwater, Lesley Heller Workspace, Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, Garis & Hahn, and Radiator Gallery, among others. In 2017, Jeng Lynch initiated the ongoing Give Voice Postcard Project. She has contributed to Two Coats of Paint and On-Verge. Previously, Jeng Lynch worked at RxArt, Sperone Westwater, and the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Contemporary Art. She earned her MA in Arts Administration and Policy from the
School of the Art Institute of Chicago and BA in Art History and Advertising from Syracuse University.