MARC STRAUS Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of seminal works by Jeanne Silverthorne, the first of a new on-going series of thematic exhibitions curated specifically for the gallery’s fourth floor loft space by gallery Director, Ken Tan.
Jeanne Silverthorne: From Darkness will feature her 1994 Untitled (Chandelier), not exhibited publicly in fifteen years. Featured in dialogue is a new sculptural piece, Frankenstein, 2018, created for the show. Both works will occupy the newly built fourth floor loft space of the Lower East Side gallery.
Jeanne Silverthorne is one of the preeminent artists who came to prominence in the 1990s as a sculptor who favored an unorthodox medium: rubber. For the next three decades, Silverthorne created work almost invariably in industrial-grade rubber, favoring a laborious, old-fashioned process that requires numerous separate casts for a single work. While her sculptures resemble ordinary objects, often derived from her own working studio, they acquire new meaning when executed in unexpected scales and in her preferred monochromatic colors. Thus, rubber sculptures such as light bulbs, task chairs and electrical wiring components do not work – they are the apotheoses of the dysfunctional.
Untitled (Chandelier) was exhibited in 1994 for Silverthorne’s inaugural one-person exhibition at McKee Gallery, New York. The immense tableau comprised a large, black Baroque-styled chandelier, with a ganglia of wire tubing connected to an EXIT box. They are made of resin and rubber; they do not work. The chandelier is a symbolic artifact of the Age of Enlightenment, a period in 18th century when individualism and rationality were championed-propelling a tumult of scientific and societal advancements. However, the same pursuit for progress is a double-edged sword; for example, it made possible Robespierre’s Reign of Terror that ‘rationalized’ remorseless bloodshed. Now we face contemporaneous moral dilemmas in the field of genetic engineering and artificial intelligence-Silverthorne, through her unique enigmatic aesthetic, perhaps is suggesting a deeper reflection on humanity’s past hubris.