Braverman Gallery is pleased to invite you to Summer Wheat’s first international solo exhibition, ‘Noble Metal.’ Wheat’s paintings and sculptural forms are characterized by expressive structure and color that challenge the limits of material and process. She centers her subject matter upon the figure and narrative, and utilizes an innovative painting technique - pushing acrylic paint through wire mesh - to create rich, fiber-like surfaces.
The title ‘Noble Metal’ refers to metals that resist corrosion and oxidation, and serves as the conceptual backbone to the fictitious world that Wheat creates in her work. In this series of work, Wheat explores ideas of female empowerment through the lens of Egyptian pictography. While looking at renderings of men pouring water, cutting fish, and moving carts around, (essentially “running things” in daily life), Wheat sought to superimpose a series of women into their places, imagining a group of women in a primal landscape. These women use metals in their everyday lives, in ritual ceremonies or cast as tools, jewelry or objects. The artist carefully considers the objects that the characters use daily: hairbrushes, drinking vessels, bowls and coins. The noble metal serves as a metaphor for the strength of this community of women.
In the same way that Gustave Courbet’s work challenged the traditions of painting by depicting ordinary people on a heroic scale, Wheat seeks to reapply the idea of the large-scale tapestry, hung primarily behind royal thrones and used as symbols of authority during medieval times, by re-contextualizing their use and imagery. From a contemporary point of view, her works can be likened to Picasso’s ‘Guernica’, as Wheat, too, uses narrative in a nontraditional way, breaking her story into segments and employing a composition that moves back and forth between abstract and figurative representations.
Summer Wheat (b. 1977, Oklahoma City, OK) received an MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and a BA from University of Central Oklahoma. Solo exhibitions include Oklahoma Contemporary, Oklahoma City, OK (2016); Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA (2017); Her work has been included in recent museum exhibitions, including ICA Collection: Expanding the Field of Painting (2013–14), Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Paint Things: Beyond the Stretcher (2013), deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA; and Paradox Maintenance Technicians: A Comprehensive Manual to Contemporary Painting from Los Angeles and Beyond (2013), Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA. She is the recipient of the Artadia Prize given to one artist at 2016 NADA New York, awarded to Wheat for her ability to “push the boundaries of acrylic paint to create works that are compelling and visceral.”