Callicoon Fine Arts is very pleased to present an exhibition by Sadie Benning. Patterns is comprised of a new series of wall-based artworks, including some of the artist’s largest to date, as well as works that, for the first time, incorporate fabric and found photographs. Benning uses repetition and patterning in these works to evoke systems of social order and control, while also questioning the entrenched and compulsive behaviors that these systems— capitalism, war and gender binaries— create.
Julie's Rug, like all the works, is made from cut pieces of wood that have been coated with aqua-resin, sanded, painted and then reassembled. Comprised of a series of irregular rectangular forms arranged in rows and columns, the buffed and sprayed components in white, black, deep red and ocher rhythmically alternate across the large surface implying a continuation beyond the boundaries of the piece.
In the work Mask, a found black and white photograph is mounted onto the sculpted components. In this small work, the photograph is caught in a white beam emanating from a dark superhero-like mask — conveying a moment of perception and contact. What is seen is a domestic boundary wall made from highly contrasting patterned bricks.
In Gun Blanket, violence is implied by lever-like guns that fire out rows of rectangles all embedded in a black ground. They take aim at two neighboring paintings, Cig 1 and Cig 2, which are graphic depictions of cigarette boxes with fabric inserts for logos, pictorial spaces that signify both compulsion and comfort.
In the largest work, Rain Signal, the blue diagonal dashes depict rain falling while rows of white rectangles signify the ominous invisibility of military communication systems.
Each work proposes a way out of prescriptive orders even while they formally articulate those orders. Benning develops a visual language that strongly argues for the referential and connotative direction of experimental forms. It is a language that is shaped by the interactive and combustible relationships between drawing, sculpture and painting.
Sadie Benning was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1973 and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. Benning received an M.F.A. from Bard College and is co-chair of the film and video department, and a former member and co-founder of the music group Le Tigre. Benning’s work had been exhibited internationally since 1990 and is in many permanent collections, including those of the Museum of Modern Art, The Fogg Art Musuem, and the Walker Art Center. Benning’s work was included the Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art; in NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, New Museum; and in Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault, Kunstmuseum Basel and Artists Space, NY, and has been included in: Annual Report: 7th Gwangju Biennale (2008); Whitney Biennial (2000 and 1993); American Century, Whitney Museum (2000); and the Venice Biennale (1993). Solo exhibitions include Participant, INC., Wexner Center for the Arts, Orchard Gallery, Dia: Chelsea, and The Power Plant.