Jessica Rohrer Oakridge Road
Amy-Jean Porter Of Lamb
June 23 – July 23, 2011 Opening Reception: Thursday, June 23, 6-8pm
P•P•O•W is pleased to present Oakridge Road, our third solo exhibition with painter Jessica Rohrer. Oakridge Road is comprised of 24 new paintings depicting interior settings, cropped details, and window views of domestic suburban life derived from Rohrer’s immediate surroundings. Complementing the paintings are a series of works on paper featuring portrait-like renderings of everyday household products isolated on stark white grounds.
The subject matter and scale of Rohrer’s new work lies in palpable contrast to the intimacy it implies. Rohrer employs elements of hyper-realism combined with careful manipulation of the scenes, emptying the works of the detritus of actual living to create sanitized, idealized depictions.
Referencing photographers such as Thomas Demand, Jeff Wall, and Stan Douglas, Rohrer’s precisely staged and meticulously painted vignettes eerily balance that which is omitted and that which is rendered in painstaking detail. The flattening of space and absence of time or atmosphere brings an abstract quality to the work, with the subtle presence of the artist’s hand further complicating the reading. As Gaston Bachelard wrote in The Poetics of Space:
“Wardrobes with their shelves, desks with their drawers, and chests with their false bottoms are veritable organs of the secret psychological life… Like us, through us and for us they have a quality of intimacy…”
With Oakridge Road, Rohrer delves into issues of personal and cultural identity by delivering inferred conclusions about a person based on a deceptively complex interpretation of mundane, daily life.
Jessica Rohrer received her M.F.A. in painting from the Yale University School of Art.
Of Lamb retells the story of “Mary had a little lamb” in 106 paintings by Amy Jean Porter and 106 poems by Matthea Harvey. The result is a remarkable collaboration that dips into the surreal, playing with our expectations of narrative, the relationship between text and image, and the bonds between human and animal. All 106 of Porter’s paintings are on view for P.P.O.W’s Project 1. Matthea Harvey’s original erasure of A Portrait of Charles Lamb by David Cecil, which inspired the project, is also being featured. The exhibition coincides with Of Lamb’s publication by McSweeney’s.
“Of Lamb is a work of such subtle, haunting, spellbinding beauty it is virtually impossible to describe it. Fantastical and yet, so strangely, achingly ‘real’ in its tracking of love, loss, grief, and again love—an astonishing collaboration between a poet and an artist that defies all categories except Unique.” —Joyce Carol Oates
Amy Jean Porter has for the past ten years considered the intersection between human culture and the natural world through text and image. This is her first collaboration. She has presented solo exhibitions in New York, Chicago, and Paris, and her work has been featured in Cabinet, McSweeney’s, The Awl, and elsewhere. Matthea Harvey is the author of three books of poetry: Modern Life (a New York Times Notable Book), Sad Little Breathing Machine, and Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form. She is the recipient of the Kingsley Tuft prize.