For the Nova Sector of Art Basel Miami Beach, Adams and Ollman (Portland, OR) will highlight new works by Vaginal Davis, Hayley Barker and Jessica Jackson Hutchins. Their work—united by gestural compositions, earthy palettes, languid marks, and material exploration—gives rise to a quiet yet radical political agency. In their own highly personal way, each unearths frequently overlooked histories that are rooted in gender, identity, labor, and spirituality. Working across sculptures, paintings, and collage, their nuanced and layered works encourage a slowness or contemplation.
Vaginal Davis conjures her paintings with a concoction of “cosmetics, beauty products, domestic household goods, witchcraft potions, elixirs and compounds.” Davis’ choice of unconventional materials most pointedly references beauty, artifice, and identity, however, their combination with homemade tonics and potions speaks to the knowledge and history of folk remedies within Black communities. Davis deploys a painterly language of turbulent strokes, gestural lines, and smudgy wisps to form complex portraits of oft-overlooked historical figures, always with an eye to feminist and queer narratives. In a new series of large format paintings, the artist turns to African goddesses, Greek mythology and the spirit world for inspiration.
Vaginal Davis (b. Los Angeles, CA; lives and works in Berlin, Germany) has been included in exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago (2020), IL; the New Museum (2017), 80WSE (2016), Cooper Union (2015), Participant Inc. (2012, 2010), all in New York; National Museum of Contemporary Art Bucharest, Romania (2009); Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka, Croatia (2009); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA (2008); and Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2006), among many others. She has performed at the New Museum, New York, NY (2017); documenta 14, Kassel, Germany (2017); Lafayette Anticipations, Archives nationales, Paris (2017); Arsenal Institut für Film und Videokunst, Berlin (2017); GenderFest Athens, Greece (2017); Creative Time Summit, Washington, D.C. (2016); Kunstverein Hannover, Germany (2016); Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, Ontario (2015); Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow, Scotland (2015); New York University, NY (2014); School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois (2013, 2020); Participant Inc., New York, NY (2012); Southbank Centre, London, UK (2012); The Getty Center as part of Pacific Standard Time, Los Angeles, CA (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2011); and Tate Modern, London (2011), among others. Davis has been a visiting professor at Lund University-Malmö Art Academy, Sweden; Justus Liebig Universität Gießen, Germany; Goethe Universität Frankfurt; Harvard University; and New York University. Her prolific artistic production also extends to her participation in a number of bands including The Afro Sisters; Black Fag; ¡Cholita! The Female Menudo; and Pedro, Muriel, & Esther; as well as solo projects. Her zine publications include Dowager, Crude, Fertile La Toyah Jackson, Shrimp, Yes, Ms. Davis, and Sucker. In 2009, she was awarded the Ethyl Eickelberg Art Prize. Davis has hosted and curated the performative film event Rising Stars, Falling Stars at the Arsenal Institut für Film und Videokunst in Berlin for eight years.
Well-known for her sculptures that often situate ceramic forms and vessels on found and dissected domestic objects such as a table, piano, sofa, or cushion, Jessica Jackson Hutchins continues to explore and push materials, media, and meaning. Composed of an array of everyday objects, some found, some personal, the artist’s works are accumulations of quotidian life and mundane rituals transformed into reverential objects that are as idiosyncratic as they are familiar. The artist’s ongoing engagement with materials and forms is tactile and intimate. Through touch and accretion, Hutchins celebrates the meaning and emotion of relationships, time, and language. Included in our presentation at Art Basel Miami Beach will be examples from a new series of works that are composed from multiple forms—some figurative, some vessel-like—that nestle, support and embrace one another. Their precarity and simplicity underscore the expressive, intuitive, immediate and intimate qualities of her medium while speaking directly to the human condition. At Art Basel Miami Beach, the gallery will offer a new series of works by Hutchins that combine her ceramic forms with cast glass elements.
Jessica Jackson Hutchins (b. 1971, Chicago, IL; lives and works in Portland, OR) has recently had solo exhibitions at Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, OH (2016); the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (2014); the Hepworth Wakefield Museum (2013); the Broad Art Museum in East Lansing, MI (2013); and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, MA (2011). Significant group exhibitions include Makeshift at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, where Hutchins first premiered her performance work; the 55th Venice Biennale, The Encyclopedic Palace (2013); and The Whitney Biennial (2010). Her work is included in the following public collections: the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Margulies Collection, Miami; and the Portland Art Museum, Portland. Upcoming exhibitions include Ceramics in the Expanded Field at MASS MOCA and Working Thought at the Carnegie Museum of Art where she will debut a major new site specific glass installation. Hutchins holds a BA in Art History from Oberlin College and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
In Hayley Barker’s paintings, the natural world is revealed in rhythmic dashes, acrobatic swirls, and dots of color that accumulate on the surface of the canvas in ecstatic yet peaceful, often contemplative renderings. Intuitive, feminine, spiritual, and mediumistic, Barker’s oil on linen works explore the ineffable between-spaces of space and time, figure and ground, interior and exterior, and dream and reality, dissolving their ostensible divisions amidst whorls of light, color, and shadow, and inviting viewers to modulate between and through what Barker describes as “spaces of passage.” In her newest work The Garden (for Sheridan), on view at Art Basel Miami Beach, a threshold looks out over a lush garden whose thick canopy encircles a distant light. The viewer is beckoned toward the light. The effect is that of a single electric moment suspended between the known and unknown, a pivot point around which an expansive and infinite potential is available.
Hayley Barker (b. 1973, Portland, OR; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA) received her BA from the University of Oregon, and her MA & MFA in Intermedia from the University of Iowa. Her work has recently been featured in exhibitions at Shrine, New York, NY; La Loma Projects, Los Angeles, CA; Reyes Finn, Detroit,MI; and Gana Art, Seoul, South Korea.