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Mary Temple: Among Friends and Enemies

Mixed Greens
531 West 26th Street, 212-331-8888
October 14 - November 13, 2010
Reception: Thursday, October 14, 6 - 8 PM
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Mixed Greens is thrilled to announce Mary Temple’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. For almost a decade, Temple has explored the fine line between truth and doubt—deciphering what is real and what is illusion. For Among Friends and Enemies, she focuses on current world events, with the objective of parsing fact from spin and fiction.

On September 24, 2007, Temple made the first drawing in her ongoing Currency series. After reading an online news story concerning Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s controversial visit to Columbia University, Temple was compelled to draw his portrait. Every day since, she has chosen an event related to a world leader from Internet news sites and hand-drawn the world leader’s likeness along with an accompanying caption and date. She positions the portrait on the page according to her subjective feelings about the event. How high or how low the portrait is placed indicates how optimistic Temple is about the news. The more promising she perceives the future to be, the higher the portrait appears. Currency both chronicles her outlook over time and, more universally, becomes a way to make sense of overwhelming, and often conflicting, media headlines.

Due to the temporal nature of the work, the exhibition will change daily. Each evening, an online story will be chosen and rendered by the artist. Then, in the morning, Temple will scan the ink drawing and send it to the gallery digitally, returning the image to its original source. Finally, a member of the gallery staff will print the drawing and hang it on the gallery wall, thus adding to the exhibition and the cacophony of news. Hung in a line or as an oversized wall calendar, the piece’s relationship to minimalism and even to musical notation becomes apparent.

Because Temple’s Currency project not only references current events, but also the ideas of value and power (her portraits are drawn much like the portraits on bank notes), Temple’s Screen Tests are a logical pairing to the series. In this work, Temple has printed hand-drawn Barack Obama portraits on a series of 100 $5 bills. Next to Lincoln, Obama appears to be auditioning for a position of lasting historical significance, much like the people in Warhol’s original Screen Tests.

Finally, Temple will display a sculpture and wall painting. The sculpture, The Space Between, pares down the narrative of Brooke Astor and her only son, Anthony Marshall. For Currency, Temple redraws the images taken by photojournalists, and here she redraws the forged, shaky signature of Brooke Astor. Through repetition and drawing, Temple tries to make sense of news stories that involve friends, enemies, and the often invisible line between the two. In the wall text painting that appears to be light raking the wall, she affirms the shadowy place where everything in the show lies—the space between knowing and not knowing.

Mary Temple, born in Arizona, now lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Recent solo venues include the Museum of Arts and Design, NYC; the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT. Group show venues include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Western Bridge, Seattle, WA; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA; the Sculpture Center, LIC, NY; The Mattress Factory Art Museum, Pittsburg, PA; The Jewish Museum, NYC; and the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD, among many others. Temple is the recipient of the 2010 Saint-Gaudens Memorial Fellowship, the 2010 Basil Alkazzi Award for Excellence in Painting, and a 2010 Fellow in Painting from NYFA. Temple has an upcoming solo exhibition at the Rice University Art Gallery in Houston, TX, and group exhibitions at the Drawing Center, NYC; the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE; the Portland Museum of Art, ME; and the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA. She is currently completing large public commissions for a New York City school and a New York City subway station. In 2012, she will complete a large public commission in Houston, TX.
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