In a practice that combines painting, sculpture, and installation Caitlin Cherry addresses history, identity, and present-day politics in pursuit of cultural reclamation and the dismantling of structural oppression. To create her obliquely narrative compositions and disorienting characters, Cherry draws upon the traditions of art history, integrating contemporary cultural theories on race, gender, economics, and the impact of technologies. Mixing conventional painting genres such as portraiture, landscape, and still life with prop-like mechanical supports, her oeuvre re-examines notions of the self and the body, often featuring subjective entities that have been co-created and morphed by the individual, society, and technology.
Caitlin Cherry received her MFA from Columbia University in 2012 and her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is Adjunct Professor in the Fine Arts Department at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA (2019 and 2020); The Hole, New York, NY (2020); Luce Gallery, Turin, IT (2019); 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 Raw/Cooked curated by Eugenie Tsai (2013). Recent group exhibitions include: A Wild Ass Beyond: ApocalypseRN (2018) at Performance Space, New York; Punch (2018) curated by Nina Chanel Abney at Jeffrey Deitch; Touchstone(2018) at American Medium, New York; The Sun is Gone but We Have the Light (2018) at Gavin Brown Enterprise, Hancock, NY; 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. Cherry is a recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Fellowship Residency (2016) and Leonore Annenberg Fellowship (2015), among other awards and honors. Her paintings are included in museum and private collections.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to announce that Caitlin Cherry's painting Solar Asian Doll (2018) was acquired by the Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH. Originally founded as an independent nonprofit by the Pizzuti family to share exhibitions of contemporary art from their private collection, the organization and its beautifully renovated building were recently acquired by the Columbus Museum of Art.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to announce that Caitlin Cherry's painting Miasma (2019) was acquired by the Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH. The painting was featured in the group exhibition I've Got A Good Mind To Give Up Living And Go Shopping Instead, on view at the Gallery from July 13 - August 17, 2019. Originally founded as an independent nonprofit by the Pizzuti family to share exhibitions of contemporary art from their private collection, the organization and its beautifully renovated building were recently acquired by the Columbus Museum of Art.
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to announce that Caitlin Cherry's painting Sapiosexual Leviathan (2019) was acquired by the Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH. The painting was featured in the artist's first solo exhibition with the gallery, Threadripper, on view from January 12 - February 9, 2019. Originally founded as an independent nonprofit by the Pizzuti family to share exhibitions of contemporary art from their private collection, the organization and its beautifully renovated building were recently acquired by the Columbus Museum of Art.
For her new online exhibition, “Corps Sonore,” artist Caitlin Cherry sources her subjects through social media. They include “Instagram influencers, glamour models, rappers, and exotic dancers — Black American femmes who play a dominant role in shaping popular culture without due credit.”
The oil paintings and digital collages in Caitlin Cherry’s online show “Corps Sonore” call forth a phantasmagorical nightclub harboring cliques of bionic sirens bathed in an opulent, rippling iridescence. Sourced from social media feeds, Cherry’s reimagined subjects embody a specific ideal of Black femme beauty associated with rappers, exotic dancers, and glamour models—women whose efforts are frequently disparaged, ignored, and, in some instances, even criminalized.
More recently, she has produced prismatic paintings from photos of Black femmes (including models, exotic dancers, porn actresses, rappers, and influencers) culled from social media. Inspired by the promotional posts of a Brooklyn cabaret, her newest works feature its servers and dancers in suggestive poses, flattened by delirious patterns and alphanumeric codes onto canvases with widescreen dimensions. Here, the slipperiness of digital images comes up against the slickness of oil paint, which she manipulates into a kind of filter that both obscures and refracts representations of Black femininity. A virtual presentation of Cherry’s new paintings and digital collages, entitled “Corps Sonore,” is currently viewable in the online viewing room of Los Angeles’s Luis De Jesus Los Angeles through August.
Caitlin Cherry: Corps Sonore at Luis De Jesus. An online show that toggles between art, technology, codes, Cherry's Black femmes, & digital graphics that function like visual intermissions.
Within figuration, the materiality of oil paint has been bound to its relationship to the depiction of skin. Velasquez went so far as to say that if not for skin, oil painting wouldn’t exist. ...This obsession with material skin seems to have lost its privileged position due in no small part to how incredibly realized it’s been within the traditions of western art history. There is a completeness to Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (1995) and Saville’s surgical portraits that followed, that have made contemporary artists disregard flesh, instead pursuing a frontier that investigates the body as one that is weightless, boneless, hollow, thin, and digital- phantom bodies.
Caitlin Cherry’s growing invaluability to the art world should come as no surprise; her commitment to black female subjectivity places the oft-imitated but systematically dismissed aesthetics of hip-hop hustle front and center, posing a real threat to the sleepy status quo we've come to expect from genre figuration. Smart, subversive, and incontrovertibly sexy, Cherry's pieces hum with radioactive irreverence, transforming viewers into beholders with the flick of a brush.
First published in 1985, the essay by Donna Haraway known as The Cyborg Manifesto made waves by criticizing the gender essentialism and idenity politics of feminism and encouraging people to unite with others baded on affinity. It proposes the symbol of the cyborg as rejection of boundaries "unfaithful to their orgins" and that this symbol can help to free peple from racist, male-dominated capitalism. The essay also purports that the "boundary between science fiction and social reality is an optical illusion."
Continuing her exploration of the representation and visibility of black women, the paintings Caitlin Cherry showed at Luis De Jesus Los Angeles depict black female figures who appear to be trafficking in the sort of flattened sexuality seen on Instagram. The women pose in alluring ways, as if the paintings were selfies that might procure thousands of likes.
The first thing one notices upon entering Caitlin Cherry‘s show at Luis De Jesus is her sensational palette so improbable that it seems to have dropped from outer space. Clashing vibrant colors contrast, oscillate and dazzle as though her paintings were a laser light show. As the shock of hue subsides, you find yourself drawn into a bizarre alternate world ruled by curvaceous mystic black women who exude eccentric glamour while confronting discriminatory stereotypes.
In a world where every image is distorted, manipulated, aspirational and dysmorphic, what is to become of painting's history of generating interpretive, fantastical pictures? Beauty is both longed-for and suspect, female power is both lauded and feared. What is a self-assured paint warrior with an operatic talent and a love of disruptive art history supposed to do?
And so we come to the Wildass Beyond of the exhibition itself, a dystopian beyond in the “no where” here and now. You forget that you’re in a city, least of all New York City, when you enter into the idyllic and rustic space, your feet literally in the dirt, so you feel at once reminded of and ensconced in Earth, something that is so easy to forget in the epicenter of global capital and its technologies of cable, wire, concrete and steel. Yet this is the imagined earth that remains after the end of the world.
I first came across Caitlin Cherry’s work through her excellent Instagram account, where she jokes about her art (one of her paintings mocks her for ripping off George Condo), posts pictures of her sphynx cat, and displays new work (recently, a tote bag emblazoned with a W-9 form). Her installation at New York’s Performance Space, A Wild Ass Beyond: ApocalypseRN, brings her into collaboration with Nora N. Khan, American Artist, and Sondra Perry.