Winkleman Gallery is very pleased to present “Boom and Bust,” our second solo exhibition by New York artist Joy Garnett. In six dazzling new paintings, Garnett continues her investigation of sublime spectacle through works on canvas sourced from photography of military events. For the “Boom and Bust” series, her focus has shifted to the sky. Gone are the horizon lines or objects on the ground used to convey a sense of scale in her other works. Instead, Garnett’s explosive, phantasmagorical shapes evoke painterly tropes and pop iconography. They also bring to mind the psychological, cultural, and economic cycles of creation and destruction.
Garnett continues to develop her methods of the past decade, pulling source images from the Internet and other mass media outlets, where there is never any shortage of spectacular and apocalyptic imagery. Acknowledging that news footage and generic imagery of war, natural disasters and man-made catastrophes form much of our common, day-to-day experience both directly and through their derivatives in movies, gaming, television and entertainment culture, Garnett’s work diverts such imagery yet again through the “lens” of her painting, rendering it with a twist that is personal, playful, and moving.
Without a horizon line, the frame of both landscape and painting is suddenly afloat, aloft, escaping the original narratives of their source imagery and representations as we might come across them in vernacular settings. This approach permits a direct exploration through specific traditions in painting, as well as pop culture motifs. Hence, while presenting us with a central explosive form, each painting draws upon a range of cultural tropes, from the loose geometry of “O.P.P.” and the evocative homage of “Rose,” to the cartoon-like whoosh of air in “Poof” [pictured above], and the cataclysmic but no less compelling abyss of “Lost.”
As Garnett has written about this work: “Perhaps perversely, the very unctuous medium of paint is an excellent tool to turn on the dominant form of the image today, which is electronic and photo-based. Paint offers us a real counterpoint as a material and as a mode of communication, and it packs a serious backlog of motifs, languages and genres that can be called into play literally with the flick of a wrist. What’s important to me, from the point of view of someone who makes paintings, is to allow the viewer to come to any meanings – any interpretations of content – on their own. What matters most is contemplation.”
Joy Garnett’s paintings, based on images she gathers from the Internet, examine the apocalyptic sublime at the intersections of media, politics and culture. Notable past exhibitions include”That Was Then…This Is Now,” MoMA P.S.1 and “Image War,” Whitney Museum of American Art. She is a recipient of a grant from Anonymous Was a Woman, and serves as Arts Editor for the scholarly journal Cultural Politics. Garnett lives and works in New York.