Winston Wächter Fine Art, New York is pleased to present “Roses, Ruffs, and Reflections”, a group exhibition featuring works by Alicia Brown, Claire Partington, and Tony Scherman. Each artist employs traditional techniques and historical styles in distinctly different ways that continues the conversation of the deep-rooted constructs of power and oppression that have been seen throughout generations. The works are hauntingly hopeful and carry the strength of persistence, wrapped together with a bit of humor in their visions for the future.
In Imaginary Homelands, Alicia Brown celebrates the perseverance of migrants who have left their home countries either voluntarily or by force. Brown uses portraiture to tell the stories of friends and family from Jamaica residing in the United States. She combines elements from Jamaican culture including native plants, animals, objects, symbols, and idioms with elements from Western art and history. In doing so, Brown examines the duality of who a subject was in their homeland and who they become in order to adapt and survive in a foreign culture. Objects such as Elizabethan ruff collars evoke narratives of power, control, and social status, while native Caribbean plants create an environment of home. In these powerful portraits, Brown celebrates the ingenuity with which immigrants both adapt to and shape their adopted homes.
Claire Partington’s mixed-media ceramic sculptures draw from both traditional and contemporary art practices. Referencing portraiture conventions from throughout art history as well as contemporary social media, Partington humorously comments on constructs of gender and power. Echo and Narcissus are a pair of sculptures inspired by Greek Mythology. Echo, a mountain nymph who could only repeat the last word that she heard and Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection, are depicted as teenagers absorbed in their phones. These porcelain and earthenware figures reference not only antiquity but fashionable sculpture from the 18th century. In these and other works, Partington playfully mixes up imagery from antiquity, social media, art history, folklore, and fashion to prompt questions about interpretation and narrative, particularly about women, and particularly about power.
Tony Scherman works in the ancient technique of encaustic by layering wax, oil paint, and pigments to build deeply expressive paintings. His series, For all the wise women persecuted as “witches”, is dedicated to women throughout history to the present day who have been punished for their wisdom, progressiveness, or determination. Each piece depicts two roses, illuminated in an ethereal yellow-green light against a swirling dark ground. The flowers stand out against a depth of darkness as petals, leaves, and other elements play and shift along the surface of the painting. The roses are a tribute, a hopeful beacon of perseverance against the oppression of forward-thinking women.