Winkleman Gallery is very pleased to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by New York artist Joy Garnett. In four large canvases Garnett continues her groundbreaking exploration of the malleability of instantly globalized images and how they have begun to replace written language as the markers of mankind’s collective memory or consciousness.
Unlike her last three New York exhibitions, which centered on specific themes of conflict or violence, this grouping is united only by the loose suggestion of images possibly taken at precisely the same moment in very different locations around the world. Garnett circles the planet to underscore perhaps the unstoppable imperative of this new lingua franca. The images Garnett paints are culled from digital mass media outlets and then archived for sometimes months at a time, permitting their context to evaporate. Returning to the image with a fuzzy at best memory of what it reportedly documented, Garnett’s process highlights the role misremembering plays in this new dubious “reality.”
The optimistic rising sun in Morning in China references the economic ascent of the Asian giant, even as its smoggy landscape hints at the potential environmental disaster such rapid expanse can bring. The explosion and chaos suggested in the bright daylight of Noon points to the inescapably volatile nature that defines the seemingly ubiquitous power grabs taking place around the globe or simply the natural consequences of so much movement all at once. The South American seascape at moonlit dusk seen in Harbor (2) belies a calm similar to the Chinese morning, even as the blood red reflections hint at something sinister. And the overwhelmingly dark and massive destruction conveyed in the rubble of the World Trade Center in Night reminds us that there remains the potential for as-yet unimaginable nightmares. The first painting Garnett has been able to paint of the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks (despite it being the single most photographed event in human history), Night is a tour-de-force of expressionistic recollection visited upon its ubiquitous source image. It is also the only incident that’s clearly identifiable among the exhibition’s paintings, but as the event that only served to speed up an already insanely speedy world it has already taken on legendary status and become the central catalyst of the enhanced and panicked race to globalize.
Joy Garnett received her MFA from The City College of New York and studied painting at L’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Her notable exhibitions include, Strange Weather at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC; Image War, organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art (2006); When Artists Say We, Artists Space (2006); Visionary Anatomies, Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition (2004-2007); and Without Fear or Reproach, De Witte Zaal, Ghent, Belgium (2003).