Ghada Amer – Cheim & Read – April 5 – May 12, 2018
Cheim & Read in New York’s exhibition of recent painting and sculpture by Ghada Amer is the artist’s fourth solo show with the gallery. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, with an essay by Jenni Sorkin.
Many of Amer’s paintings make art historical references in subversive and humorous ways. White Girls and White-RFGA subtly makes racial commentary, critiquing whiteness as a convention while addressing Robert Ryman. Landscape with Black Mountains-RFGA conflates the female form as a pastoral setting. The cascading and pooling thread, omnipresent in Amer’s work, recalls Jackson Pollock. Sorkin writes in the catalogue essay, “Ghada Amer has utilized the lush landscape of the art historical past from which to plunder—re-casting the role of women as subject, versus object.”
The last few years have been a very fertile time for Amer. This exhibition will present, for the first time in depth, the artist’s recent foray into ceramics. Amer’s signature style of contoured figures appears in the rough ceramic forms, but instead of being partially obscured by dense thread, the figures are rendered by bleeding colored slips into the earthenware form. Her intense engagement with the material conditions of ceramics to depict painterly concerns is apparent. Adam Welch, director of Greenwich House Pottery, has said, “Though these works fit within a continuation of the ceramic figurative tradition, she defies convention, converting her clay canvases into three-dimensional form. Many artists currently converging on the medium generally do so in a manner distinct from their other art practice. Ghada set out to close the distance across her mediums.”
Ghada Amer was born in Cairo in 1963. She attended the Villa Arson in Nice, France, where she graduated with an MFA in painting in 1989, and now lives and works in New York. Her work was the subject of a Brooklyn Museum survey show in 2008, titled Love Has No End. Amer’s work is represented in many American and international permanent collections, including Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; and the Tel Aviv Museum, Israel. Later this year, her work will be the focus of solo exhibitions at Centre de Création Contemporaine Olivier Debré, Tours, from June 1 through October, and at the Dallas Contemporary opening September 22, which will feature her ceramic works.