Joseph Yoakum + Robyn O'Neil

14 Dec 2017 – 27 Jan 2018

Susan Inglett Gallery

New York
New York, United States


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Susan Inglett Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of drawings by Joseph Yoakum (1890-1972) and gallery artist Robyn O’Neil


Mystical imaginings of far away lands inspired the drawings of Joseph Yoakum. Stylized symbols of the natural world formed their own ancestral connections by way of the artist’s unique vision. While Yoakum likely visited many of the sites depicted, first with the circus and later the army and merchant marines, it is the surreal quality of his renderings that suggests these drawings are more than meets the eye. Yoakum’s work has held sway over artists from the time it was first exhibited in Chicago in the late 60’s, championed by the likes of Leon Golub, Ray Yoshida, Gladys Nilsson…and more recently by a younger generation rediscovering these Midwestern pioneers, Robyn O’Neil among them. O’Neil was born in Nebraska and lived throughout the Mid-West. Introduced to Yoakum’s work at an early age, her bond extended beyond the drawings to the terrain that inspired them. Parallels in the work are striking though perhaps not surprising for those familiar with this bleak unpopulated countryside. Freighted with a pervasive sense of unrest, tension, the empty landscape lies in waiting. Both Yoakum and O’Neil operate within the void to create a space of spirituality and humanity. Joseph Yoakum (1890-1972) a self-taught Black and Native American artist travelled the world in various occupations for the early part of his life. He did not start drawing until 1962, at age 76. His work is included in numerous museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco; The Menil, Houston; Museum of American Folk Art, NYC; National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia Museum of Art; among others. Robyn O’Neil [Omaha, Nebraska, 1977] lives and works in Los Angeles, California. O’Neil has been honored with major solo exhibitions at the Des Moines Art Center; the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art; Winston-Salem, as well as numerous group exhibitions including the Whitney Biennial; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and “Dargerism” at The American Folk Art Museum. Her work can be found in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art; Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art among others. Gallery II will feature new work from sculptor Eric Fertman. Working in wood, Fertman’s stylized creatures share a disturbing sense of the uncanny with both Yoakum and O’Neil. Born in Boston, MA in 1974, Fertman lives and works in Brooklyn. He received a BFA from Cooper Union and has exhibited nationally, with solo shows at Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem; The Kemper Museum in Kansas City, and a two-person presentation at Time Equities, Inc., NYC for The Art-in-Buildings Program as well as numerous group exhibitions.

Exhibiting artists

Robyn O'Neil

Joseph Yoakum


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