Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Jay Lynn Gomez
Sally J. Han
Reggie Burrows Hodges
Ernst Yohji Jaeger
The FLAG Art Foundation presents and I will wear you in my heart of heart, a group exhibition of contemporary paintings and textiles on view May 1-August 13, 2021, on its 9th floor. Centering on a gesture of care, the exhibition explores the myriad ways in which artists evoke tenderness though depictions of lovers and friends, familial exchanges, moments of solitude, and even a cowboy and his pastel pink unicorn. Heart of heart includes recent and new works created for the exhibition that embody the cross-generational resurgence in figurative painting as a mode of exploring identity, cultural histories, and personal experiences.
Heart of heart nods to line spoken by Hamlet and addresses that which we hold closest, be it a relationship, a feeling, one’s own well-being, an object, or a dream. Illustratively, the “heart of heart” is akin to a castle’s keep, an innermost stronghold and safeguard from the outside world. Reggie Burrows Hodges, Jordan Casteel, and Arghavan Khosravi depict relationships between parents and children in largescale, hyperchromatic canvases. TM Davy and Jenna Gribbon position viewers as voyeurs who are momentarily granted access to a fleeting gesture between lovers and friends. Moments of solitary contemplation are depicted in dreamlike paintings by Peter Doig, Danielle McKinney, and Ernst Yohji Jaeger, while Joan Semmel’s unflinching depiction of aging, set to monumental scale and luminous coloration, encapsulates the vulnerability of the human body. Made of materials that typically dress and wrap the body, textiles by Cheryl Pope (needle-punched wool roving on cashmere), Alessandro Teoldi (reconstituted airline blankets), and Billie Zangewa (hand-stitched and collaged silk) connote touch, comfort, and connectivity—intrinsic elements of tenderness.
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 “[…]Give me that man / That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him / In my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart, / As I do thee.” (Hamlet 3.2.65-67); Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. George Richard Hibbard. Oxford University Press, 2008. Google Books.