Roberta Smith, “It’s Not Dry Yet: Painting, Still Lively,” The New York Times, March 26, 2010
Jerry Saltz, “Unearthed Classics and Reinvented Forms: The Best Art of 2009,” New York Magazine. 21 December 2009
David Colman, “The Nifty 50: America’s Up and Coming,” T: The New York Times Style Magazine, December 6, 2009
Roberta Smith, “Art in Review: Leidy Churchman,” The New York Times, July 16, 2009
The gallery is pleased to present Good Afternoon! by Leidy Churchman. The artist’s New York solo debut will feature a group of paintings on wood, painted objects, and clay sculptures. A new video entitled “Painting Treatments” will be featured concurrently in Oculus Imaginationis, which opens at Horton Gallery on July 16th.
The paintings of Leidy Churchman often engage a cast of characters who seem to be marveling in the wonder and amusement of their respective environments and states of being: a bearded figure wearing a carrot necklace straddling a dog with one hand on the round breast of a nude figure with a pizza on his or her stomach – all atop a floating Burberry plaid pattern (“Carrot Necklace,” 2007), two masculine, muscular figures with their clothes in hand and wearing only purple sailor hats and matching strap-on dildos (“Purple Pals,” 2007), or two worrisome heads who share a connecting orange beard, which appears to be a cloud floating over an unmanned picnic blanket with the leftover half of a watermelon (“Beard Gods,” 2007).
Rendered with flat areas of bright color and simplified black contour lines, the artist takes advantage of the natural striation of the wooden painting support to highlight the material and to create depth within the picture plane. Not out of place in a secondhand store or crafts tent, the paintings and objects are installed in groups to emphasize the artist’s intuitive and direct spirit of working. Yet an artistic maturity and confidence is evidenced through allusions as vast as Richard Tuttle, rural life, and sex play.
Oscillating between painting, sculpture, and video the artist welcomes the relationships of supposed opposites as an allegory for the uncertain humor that accompanies living transgendered: “I see people and their environments morphing into transsexual, not as a definitive destination but a space of complexity and amusement.” In this manner, rocks are painted to represent strawberries or Roquefort cheese, an apple is covered with a glossy sealant to create a sagging skin, a tree branch painted to resemble an ear of corn, and a dildo is slipped within a wet sock to leave a phallic impression. When seen together the works present a highly idiosyncratic picture of the notion of “trans” not as “this” to “that” but as “beyond”.
Leidy Churchman (b. 1979, Villanova, PA) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He is a MFA candidate at Columbia University and received a BA from Hampshire College, Amherst, MA. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Dumbo Arts Center, Brooklyn, NY; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, CA; and as a part of LTTR at Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York; Bellwether Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; and New Image Art, Los Angeles, CA. He has collaborated with Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Sam Lopes under “The Third Leg” and he recently created an original music video for the song “Simultaneously” by MEN. His work has been mentioned in The New York Times, Artforum, and The San Francisco Guardian. The artist was recently included on Jerry Saltz’s list of “33 Notable Artists Emerging After 1999”. A new video entitled “Painting Treatments” will be featured concurrently in Oculus Imaginationis, which opens at Horton Gallery on July 16th. Good Afternoon! is the artist’s New York solo debut.