Caitlin Cherry's new paintings propel her long-standing interest in the representation of black female bodies through new aesthetic strategies inspired by dystopic science fiction and malfunctioning technology. In our oversaturated screen-dependent culture, painting sheds its outmoded strategy of creating windows into literal and figurative worlds. Threadripper riffs on the promises of technology and marketing and the ubiquitousness of digital screens in order to rip apart representation at the seams.
In tech, a Threadripper is a next-generation high-performance central processing unit (CPU) with superior speed and multitasking capability. Cherry’s Threadripper proposes that paintings, like digital screens, are luminous, addictive, and hyperreal channels for communication. Cherry breaks the illusion of the classical pictorial space—a device with deep roots in colonization and oppression—creating a parallel channel to the exploitation of black female bodies. Tilted, cracked, or malfunctioning LCD monitor technology becomes a lens through which to view a broken system of representation. This busted technology interrupts and morphs bodies and creates a pseudo-solarization effect—a tongue-in-cheek reference to skin color.
The results are overtly distorted female pop stars, influencers, idols, and sex-workers populating oil-slick rainbows of saturated color—an accelerationist re-appropriation of racist clichés and sexist stereotypes. Cherry's mesmerizing characters are larger than life, proud of their bodies, and fully aware of the patriarchal gaze. These filters also act as a distancing mechanism: distortion is becoming. These subjective entities both flaunt and reject their objectivity, perhaps in acknowledgement that they have been created in equal parts by society, technology, and by their own selves.
Caitlin Cherry received her MFA from Columbia University in 2012 and BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010, and is currently Assistant Professor of Art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Providence College Galleries, Providence, RI (2018); Anderson Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA (2018); University Museum of Contemporary Art at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA (2017); and at The Brooklyn Museum as part of the Raw/Cooked series curated by Eugenie Tsai (2013). Group exhibitions include A Wild Ass Beyond: ApocalypseRN (2018) at Performance Space, New York; Punch (2018) curated by Nina Chanel Abney at Jeffrey Deitch, New York; Touchstone (2018) at American Medium, New York; The Sun is Gone but We Have the Light (2018) at Unclebrother/Gavin Brown's Enterprise, Hancock, NY; Soul Recordings at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles; Object[ed]: Shaping Sculpture in Contemporary Art (2016) at UMOCA, Salt Lake City, UT; Banksy's Dismaland Bemusement Park (2015) in Somerset, UK; This is What Sculpture Looks Like (2014) at Postmasters Gallery, New York; and Fore (2012) at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. Cherry is a recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Fellowship Residency (2016) and Leonore Annenberg Fellowship (2015), among other awards and honors.