David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by New York- based artist Katy Schimert. This will be the artist's second solo exhibition at the gallery. The artist recently had solo exhibitions at the Matrix Gallery, University of California at Berkeley; the Renaissance Society in Chicago; and 1301 PE in Los Angeles.
For the upcoming exhibition, Katy Schimert will present a group of sculpture focusing entirely on the human body. The artist has sculpted an array of body parts from clay, which she subsequently turned into ceramics with highly glazed surfaces. The body parts–male and female heads, torsos, arms and legs, as well as organs, such as lungs, brains, hearts and intestines–are shown in the gallery both as works displayed individually on pedestals in one space and as a large accumulation where the body parts are stacked and piled randomly in another. The individual works, some of which are highly figurative while others are very much abstracted, will thus invite two distinctively different readings and perceptions.
The different body parts displayed on individual pedestals reference a variety of objects and styles, from antiquity to late nineteenth-century sculpture, allowing the artist to play with idealized esthetics and historical stereotypes. Seen as a "pile," these same works take on a much more disturbing quality, as the primary reference becomes war, destruction and death, bringing to mind Matthew Brady's famous photographs of the Civil War. The "dismembered" body parts are in stark contrast to the sculptural purity and beauty that the same work exudes once placed on the pedestal. Schimert emphasizes the ambiguity of the work of art as it changes mode of display and thus triggers a variety of collective memories.
All of Schimert's work demands from the viewer an involvement that goes beyond the analytical, and enters the emotional. In her current body of work, seduction and repulsion cohabitate, and her primary vehicle is sensuality where the mythical and the historical are treated as one emotional state.