Jeff Bailey Gallery is pleased to present Jackie Gendel, Comedy of Manners, an exhibition of new paintings on canvas and paper. Despite her apparent romping through the hierarchy of genres past, wading through the heavy oil slicks of painting, Gendel is no mere traditionalist.
Much of Gendel's recent work makes contradictory use of two of modernity's most common conventions of image production; she employs both serial repetition of form and the sequential image of narrative, using them simultaneously to unfold the implied relationship between narrative time and painterly process. This achieves a "Groundhog Day"-like effect in which a scene repeats albeit in slightly altered scenery, and increasingly nuanced but appreciable differences occur in the who, what, when, how, and ultimately, most importantly, "why".
This peculiar take on the incremental space within and between paintings provides an unlikely connection between Gendel's recent work and her early work derived from her background in underground comics, a medium of "sequential image" storytelling, which she drew in the late '90s for an upstart feminist webzine for teenage girls.
But her recent work is also equally established in her approach to easel painting, and specifically her play with the notion of character and historical time developed throughout her first exhibition of speculative portraits at the gallery in 2006, which the artist credits as an important turning point in her work, and has continued in various iterations since.
As in Gendel's previous portraits, a change of gender or historical location may occur in a sleight-of-hand gesture of the brush, in her new work entire compositions lifted from art historical motifs may be repeated. As the weight of the hand is lightened, mastery becomes chicanery; the symbolic violence of a typical beheading is "domesticated" in pastel hues, and historical scale takes diminutive size. Characters within Gendel's narrative "revenge of the same" change roles between protagonists, victims and spectators, in addition to changing gender, ethnicity and origin.
This is Gendel's third solo exhibition at the gallery, and her tenth overall. Recent solo exhibitions include Loyal Gallery, Malmö, Sweden and Bryan Miller Gallery, Houston, Texas. She currently has work on view at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina in Art on Paper 2012. Her work is included in the collections of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut and the Progressive Collection (US) and has been written about in Art in America, Artforum, The New York Times and The New Yorker. The American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded her an Academy Award in Art in 2007. Gendel received her BFA in 1996 from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri and her MFA in 1998 from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
A catalogue with an essay by Colleen Asper has been published in conjunction with the exhibition.