About the Exhibition

Inka Essenhigh

The Natural and the Man-Made
2012. 3. 2nd(fri.) - 4. 7th(sat.)
Tomio Koyama Gallery Kyoto
opening reception 3.02. fri. 6:00 - 8:00pm
*[Artist Talk] Tomio Koyama Gallery Kyoto:3.02. fri. 5:30pm -
  • Inka Essenhigh exhibition, The Natural and the Man-Made, 2012 Inka Essenhigh
  • Stubborn Tree Spirit, 2012 ©Inka Essenhigh

» Introduction:

Inka Essenhigh has kept painting since the early 1990s, when photography and computer art had become the dominant mediums, and is one of the acclaimed New York artists who engaged in a new revitalization of figurative painting. In the mid-1990s, Essenhigh started receiving international recognition for her enamel paintings with flat surfaces and an appearance akin to pop culture. In 2001, she switched from enamel to oil paint, moving towards a three-dimensionality and creating deep and unique spaces.
Essenhigh’s paintings have mainly depicted dramatically distorted figures and mythic and illusionistic sceneries. The distinctive lines and outlines create the sense of action and motion, generation, and transformation. Many occurrences, both tragic and comic, happen in her work. The dynamism, for example of “Sudden Arrival of Morning” (2001), where a figure is leaping out of bed with a tornado of swirling sheets, strongly draws the viewer.
Her work constructs a mythology for and about humans and contemporary culture, mainly Western: violence, absurdity, anxiety, vulgarity, as well as optimism, elegance, hope and comicalness. After September 11, she created works that dealt with fear or apocalypse, such as “Arrows of Fear” (2002). Recent work includes “Green Goddess” (2009) that presents a celestial and mystic sense of goddess in the natural world. Ugliness and beauty, sophistication and naïveté, the calm eyes and skepticism, and the strength of utopist dreams and beliefs, all reside in Essenhigh’s work.

» Concept:

Entitled “The Natural and the Man Made”, this exhibition presents 5 paintings that offer a progression from natural surroundings to the man-made world, beginning with “Late August”, which depicts trees and nature at their most mature states. “Frond Painting” depicts a human who is looked after carefully by the nature. “The Woodsman” presents the beginning of development of the land by the humans, and a tree spirit gets sucked back to the earth. The small phosphorescent avatar, “Stubborn Tree Spirit”, will not quit its tree, even though only the stump is left. In “Manhattan”, the spirit world infuses the man-made world. Monotypes on the similar themes will also be on the view.

» Artist Biography:

Inka Essenhigh was born in 1969 in Pennsylvania. She received MFA from School of Visual Arts, and currently lives and works in NY.
She has had major solo exhibitions at DA2 Dumos Artium 2002 (Salamanca, Spain, 2005), Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami (Florida, 2003), and many galleries worldwide such as Albright Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo), Victoria Miro Gallery (London), and 303 Gallery (NY). Her group exhibitions include ”Comic Abstraction” (Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2007), ”USA Today” (Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2006), Bienal de Sao Paulo (2004), ”Hybrids” (Tate Gallery, Liverpool, 2001), 2nd Berlin Biennale (2001), and ”Greater New York: New Art in New York Now”(P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, NY, 2000). Her works have been included in many public collections including Whitney Museum of American Art (NY) and Tate Gallery (London). This is her first solo exhibition in Japan.

Contact information for press materials:

[ Tomio Koyama Gallery Kyoto / TKG Editions Kyoto ] Futaba Fujikawa TEL: +81-75-353-9994

*Please click Photos for more images.

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