Artist: Sadie Benning
Venue: Mary Boone, New York
Exhibition Title: Green God
Curated by: Piper Marshall
Date: April 28 – July 29, 2016
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of the artist, Mary Boone Gallery and Callicoon Fine Arts, New York. Photos by Adam Reich.
The exhibition Green God meditates on the meanings of Genesis 1:27, which hauntingly establishes that “God created man in His own image”. While this phrase has been altered over time and while it exists in alternative iterations, it still works to engender a set of inherited beliefs. In this body of work, Benning reflects on the deviating interpretations of this phrase. The artist seems to ask us: How is god imagined?
To address the possible answers to this question, Benning has portioned the exhibition between the two galleries. The work concurrently addresses individual and personal belief, while simultaneously addressing the mentality that sustains collective manifestations of religion. Taken together, the works on view depict and give form to many kinds of Gods: purple hat god, worm god, grey god, sports heroes, toys, animals, idols and playing fields. In these spaces, the cherished talisman exists concurrently with the alienating masses, sometimes with one butting up against, contradicting, and even touching the other.
At Mary Boone Gallery, the artist incorporates found objects and photographs into the composition of the works. There is a concentration to the surfaces which have been jig-saw cut, coated, fit together and contoured. The careful construction of line grounds the devotional objects, with each carrying the aura of their own histories.
At Callicoon Fine Arts, persistent abstractions of crowds and worship serve to explore the feelings that impel religious fervor forward. The connections drawn between the works at both galleries raise an intriguing line of inquiry into memory and systems of belief that ghost these artworks. A critique emerges from this charged affect, one that suggests potential ways of imaging alternative futures, a gesture that favors perception, how we see over what we see. Benning morphs the green god as a figure into multiple representations, and in doing so explores the human potential of intuition.