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Sikkema Jenkins & Co presents KAY ROSEN | SUZANNE OPTON

Archive | Information & News

16 May 2014 to 18 July 2014

Sikkema Jenkins & Co
530 West 22nd Street
NY 10011
New York, NY
New York
North America
T: 01 212-929-2262
F: 01 212-929-2340

May 16 - June 28, 2014

Artists in this exhibition: Kay Rosen, Suzanne Opton

May 16 - July 18, 2014

Sikkema Jenkins & Co. is pleased to present Blingo, an exhibition of new works by Kay Rosen on view from May 16 – July 18, 2014.
For almost four decades Kay Rosen has applied the visual strategies of color, spacing, composition, material, elements of graphic design, and scale to written language to make drawings, collages, paintings, editions, and wall installations that challenge the way that we read and understand language.
The current body of work – consisting of acrylic gouache paintings on watercolor paper, paintings on similarly proportioned canvases, and one wall installation – represents a shift in the way that Rosen considers the relationship between the text and the support. In previous paintings and drawings, the size and shape of the canvas or paper conformed to the size and shape of the text. Conversely, the texts in her wall installations were customized to fit the available space. For the works in Blingo, the text and space, content and site (including horizontal, vertical, and diagonal orientation, height and width, corners and edges), are treated equally, and are more integrated. For example, in Rust Colored Belt the reddish-brown words of the title are painted horizontally across the middle of the paper, suggesting a horizon line of a decaying steel landscape as well as a fashion accessory around the girth of a body. In both scenarios – terrain and torso – the support and the text are mutually dependent.
The wall painting Monuments is composed of the word “obelisk” painted vertically floor-to-ceiling intersecting at the letter “s” with the word “odalisk” stretching horizontally across the wall. The careful composition of the two words together establishes a parity between the vertical and horizontal texts, as Rosen explains: “Vertical does not trump horizontal; nor upright, prostrate. Male does not trump female. Sculpture does not trump painting. The representation of both ODALISKS and OBELISKS throughout the history of art is equally iconic and illustrious. Any perceived hierarchy is supplied by the viewer.”
A catalogue with a text written by the artist will accompany the exhibition.
Born in Corpus Christi, Texas and based in the Midwest, Kay Rosen turned her attention to art after her early academic study of language. Since then her work has been exhibited in numerous museums and institutions both nationally and internationally, including The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, where she had a retrospective exhibition in 1998-99; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; MASS MOCA, North Adams, Massachusetts; the Whitney Museum of American Art in both the 2000 and 1991 (as part of Group Material’s “AIDS Timeline”) Biennials; The Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Modern Art; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, as well as in solo gallery exhibitions across the U.S. and Europe.
Upcoming projects include a solo exhibition at Galerie Zilberman in Istanbul, Turkey from May 9 to July 28, 2014. In addition, following its 2013 debut at the Kunsthlle Bielefeld in Auf Zeit, Rosen’s wall installation, Wanderful!, will be included in the upcoming group exhibition, Score, at the Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs opening July 5 .
Rosen has taught at The School of the Art Institute for 20 years. She is the recipient of three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, an Anonymous Was A Woman grant, an S.J. Weiler Fund award, and the 2014 Artist Award for Distinguished Body of Work by the College Art Association. A book about her work, Kay Rosen: AKAK, was published by Regency Art Press, New York, in 2009.

May 16 - July 18, 2014

Sikkema Jenkins & Co. is pleased to present Soldier, an exhibition of photographs by Suzanne Opton on view in Gallery 2 from May 16 through July 18, 2014.
Opton’s Soldier series takes a serious look at the faces of American soldiers, and consider the impact of war on their lives and the lives of their families.
The large-scale color portraits, produced with the cooperation of the military at Fort Drum Army base, depict the faces of young men and women who have served in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Breaking with traditional portrait conventions, Opton photographs her subjects lying prone and with their face tilted towards the camera. By virtue of the slow process of working with a large format camera, the subject’s mind may wander during the session. In this fashion, although conscious of being looked at, the subject may be lost in thought when the exposure is made. Although the implication of being shot down was not lost on these young men and women, the pose also recalls seeing someone opposite you with their head on the pillow.
Opton explains her motivation for the series: “We all experience strategic moments when we feel most alive. Whether transcendent or horrific, these are the moments that we will always remember. I wanted to look in the face of a young person who had seen something unforgettable.”
The Soldier Billboard project presented billboards of the Soldiers in eight cities from 2008—10 along with the support of host arts organizations. More information on the project is available at
Suzanne Opton is a photographer whose work lies between documentary photography and conceptual art. The images in her work focus on portraits of people whom she works with over long periods of time and which often involve an interaction suggesting a performance between photographer and subject.
Opton’s series Many Wars was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Chrysler Museum of Art, VA in 2012. Decode Books published Soldier/Many Wars in 2011 which is distributed through Decode and DAP.
Opton’s photographs are in the collections of the Austin Museum of Art, TX; the Brooklyn Museum, NY; Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; The Chrysler Museum, VA; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich; Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; Portland Museum of Art, ME; Smithsonian Museum of American Art, D.C.; and the Yale University Art Gallery, CT.
Opton was a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2009 and has received grants from the NEA, NYFA, and Vermont Council on the Arts. She lives and works in New York City and teaches at the International Center of Photography.

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