marianne boesky gallery

MELISSA GORDON: MIMETIC PLEASURES

October 10 – November 9, 2014
Previous Location

Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present Mimetic Pleasures, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Melissa Gordon. Mimetic Pleasures is the artist’s second solo show with the Gallery, and her first at BOESKY EAST. 

A presentation of new works from Gordon’s ongoing Material Evidence series, Mimetic Pleasures takes up questions of authorship and abstraction as advanced in her longer-term bodies of work including Blow Up Modernists and Structures for Viewing. In these series, Gordon implements her particular cache of gestures - enlarging hidden details, zooming in on patterns of reproduction, and distorting information with abstraction in paintings, silkscreens and installations - to reconfigure histories, surfaces, and iconographies through a feminist lens. The works in Mimetic Pleasures revolve around the question “Who gets to be abstract?” or, in other words, whose paintings can appreciably be thought of as belonging to a tradition of primarily male artists – then and now – in whose work gesture is prioritized?

Gordon’s paintings are produced through a combination of provisional, accidental gestures – made by wiping off her brush on the studio wall during the process of painting – and studious, mimetic ones, whereby these initial marks are subsequently carefully replicated on canvas. The marks made on the painting’s surface thus belong to both the tradition of abstraction relative to a certain type of unconscious expressivity, and to procedures involving the reproducibility of images in modernity, two processes often thought to be somehow contradictory in their aims. Her technique in this series can thereby be said to participate in a continuing interrogation, in all of that word’s forensic connotations, of how we continue to receive Modernism in painting, derailing a conversation about “painting as painting” or “painting as such” towards more specific questions about the imaginary subject of the Modernist painter. Gordon draws attention to herself in that likely or unlikely role by mimicking herself in her own paintings, substituting for her own initial careless marks a deliberate and considered imitation, thus fetishizing whilst mocking the idea of the famous brush stroke.

Hung on unfinished walls, Gordon’s works mimic processes of production and display: clusters of paintings use photographic gestures, zooming in on a mark, showing a wider cropping, repeating subjects over time in stop motion and tracking across a surface. Here, the Abstract Expressionist splatter of Jackson Pollock is pitted against the careful composition of Piet Mondrian and the deadpan appropriation of Andy Warhol; the index becomes the icon. In Mimetic Pleasures, the studio door is flung open and maybe no one is in there. Only an imprint is left: a set of marks, studio walls with paint on them, paint still in mixing buckets and traces of work done.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a poster with the essay “Painting Behind Itself” by Eva Kenny.

A launch of Gordon’s monograph, Material Evidence (Sternberg Press, 2014) will take place on October 11 at Printed Matter, 195 10th Avenue, 5 to 7 pm.

Melissa Gordon was born in Boston in 1981. She received her BFA in Painting/Printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence) in 2003. She continued her education at the Cooper Union School of Art in 2002 and participated in the post-graduate art program at De Ateliers in Amsterdam from 2003-2005. She has exhibited throughout Europe and the UK including shows at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Wiels, Brussels, Kunstmuseum Bonn and Marres, Maastricht. Her first solo exhibition in New York, A Lonely Crowd, was in 2009 at Marianne Boesky Gallery, followed by Structures for Viewing (2012) and a curated group exhibition, Specific Collisions, at the Gallery’s uptown space in early 2013. In summer 2013, Gordon presented a solo exhibition at Spike Island, Bristol, UK; the exhibition catalogue Material Evidence (2014) is published by Sternberg Press. Melissa Gordon currently lives and works in London.

For further information regarding Melissa Gordon, please contact Gallery Director Kelly Woods at kelly@boeskygallery.com or 212-680-9889.