Very, Very Presidential Speech
September 18 - October 11, 2020
Amos Eno Gallery is pleased to present Very, Very Presidential Speech, an exhibition of new works by Chris Kienke based on the first official White House portrait of President Donald Trump. An opening reception will be held on Friday, September 18, from 6-8 PM at 56 Bogart Street in Brooklyn, NY.
Each work in the exhibition comprises brightly colored, hand-lettered quotes from the President superimposed onto his first official White House portrait. Each is an intervention, using the President’s own words to subvert the portrait’s intended effect. Kienke performs a graphic intervention on the portrait by overwriting it with select quotes in sans serif lettering.
Kienke’s Very, Very, Presidential Speech examines the President’s perspective as expressed through verified quotes about women, race, and patriotism inflected with privilege and nationalistic overtones. The project explores how these Presidential perspectives influence current debates ranging from ideas about freedom and citizenship to how a society responds to gun violence. Ideas about patriotism, citizenship and freedom are represented by language that is itself reflective of class, race, and gender. In the artist’s view, these quotes “shape our beliefs about what American values are and who gets to share in those values.” Kienke responds to dialogues around social, political, historical and economic issues filtered through nationalistic and patriotic ideals and what he views as a demand for visual rendering.
Chris Kienke has been with Amos Eno Gallery since 2012 and has his work has been exhibited in over 70 shows including recent solo exhibitions at Northwestern University (2018), the University of Kentucky (2016), the Art Center at National Central University in Taiwan (2015) and Fuchs Projects in New York City. Chris exhibited in the Florence Biennale in 2011, the Brussels Biennial in 2009 and was included in New American Paintings in September 2009. Kienke has been a fellow at Hospitalfield House in Scotland in 1998-1999 and at the Vermont Studio Center in 2003 and 2007. His work is in permanent collections such as ABN Amro Bank in Dubai, Savannah College of Art and Design, Sharjah Art Museum (UAE) and the United Kingdom National Collection. Chris Kienke received his MFA from Southern Illinois University - Carbondale in 2000 and his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1994.
Image: Chris Kienke, Great Relationship with Blacks, 2019. Acrylic on digital print, 20 x 16 inches.
October 15 - November 8, 2020
Amos Eno Gallery is pleased to present Significant Soil, a solo exhibition of new works by artist Philip Swan. The exhibit will run at Amos Eno Gallery from October 15 - November 8 2020, with an opening reception slated for Friday, October 16, 2020. The title comes from the T.S. Eliot poem “The Dry Salvages,” in which Eliot ruminates on those individuals who are undefeated in life because, in the process of continuing to strive, they accumulate a life of “significant soil.”
Like the buildup of soil in nature echoed in Eliot’s poetic metaphor, Swan’s work addresses the mental accretion of imagery permeating urban settings that lend a sense of place and meaning which is internally mapped in abstract ways. Most of the work in the show was created during the CoVid-19 pandemic, and reflects the struggle required to create art in this context. The continuing resilience needed to build a life of significant soil in the face of an existential crisis on a global scale lies embedded in the work on display. This show consists of thirteen oil paintings on canvas. The paintings are self-contained, but connected through color and compositional similarity. In the process of creating work, Swan conceives of compositional and aesthetic roadblocks and then improvises his way to a solution while avoiding resolving problems concretely, thus allowing previous stray pathways which eluded resolution to remain visible. The resulting pentimento gives the work its complex composition.
Swan has explored geometric abstraction in various mediums over the past two decades, and his recent work is highly architectonic in feel. This series incorporates both the palette and geology of the natural world and the vertical geometries of the urban environment. Significant Soil marks a new trajectory that combines formalist geometric abstraction with a more gestural mark-making than has been seen in previous work. Like other contemporary abstractionists, Swan is in dialogue with the rich history of abstract art in the United States inspired by the interaction of the artist and landscape.
Philip Swan is a self-taught painter who has been showing at Amos Eno since 2018. He has a BA and MSI from the University of Michigan and an MA from the College of William and Mary. He is originally from Michigan and has lived in New York since 1997. His work has been featured in many group shows in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey.
Image: Philip Swan, 2020 B, 2020. Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches.