PITCHES & SCRIPTS

January 20 – March 11, 2023

Jennifer Baahng Gallery is pleased to present PITCHES & SCRIPTS, a group exhibition of works on paper. On view are ink and graphite drawings, collages, inkjet prints and sewed surfaces produced from the 1980’s through 2020. In pooling together six artists, the exhibition pitches a fermentation of ideas, technologies, and political stances that connote rupture and disintegration, while scripting growth, movement and new life. PITCHES & SCRIPTS runs from January 20 through March 11, 2023, with its opening reception on Friday, January 20, 6 – 8 PM.

The spectral presence of history suffuses the work of Janet Taylor Pickett and Zhang Hongtu. Blackness is a “declarative statement” for Janet Taylor Pickett (b. 1948), whose works, as ongoing visual poems,  probe personal and collective memory. Dresses Akimbo, on view, elaborates upon the symbolism of that gesture: a stance of power, bewilderment, and love. A forerunner of Chinese Political Pop Art whose work engages a multilayered discourse,  Zhang Hongtu (b. 1943) asserts themes of dislocation, national identity, propaganda, and politics in the Long Live Mao series, which is equal parts whimsical and profound.

Idiomerica by Sharon Butler (b. 1959) was catalyzed by the artist’s move from New York City to the suburbs. The works investigate the visual grammar of capitalist suburban Americana through video animations, text projects, digital drawings, and the resulting tendencies of reductive art. Conversely, moving from the Midwest to New York City, Jeff Gabel (b. 1968) developed Short Fiction Sketches in scribbly and smudge tone drawings. The works externalize the imagination  of a solitary artist inducted into a sea of uncanny urban experiences.

The Terminal Century by R.C. Baker (b. 1960) seethes with existential angst, as painted and collaged elements tremor with disruption and discordance, while also pointing to the beauty nestled in such moments of ostensive entropy. Similarly responding to a post-War world order, Bjorn Meyer-Ebrecht (b. 1972), makes ink drawings at a monumental scale, creating a pictorial architecture in ink that displays luminous materiality. In their rich, textured surfaces, the works included push the pictorial plane from drawing into painting. 

PITCHES & SCRIPTS assembles the memories of the artists at a formative historical moment, and inquires how art shapes history by responding to cultural shifts or by instigating them itself. As we are flung—‘pitched’—into the future, the exhibition looks to this collection of work for a loose, dynamic script for how to narrativize ourselves in the present.  PITCHES & SCRIPTS renders a ‘soft landing’ for our launch into the new year.

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