Wilmer Wilson IV: Slim… you don’t got the juice
Susan Inglett Gallery, New York, United States31 Jan 2019 - 09 Mar 2019
Susan Inglett Gallery is pleased to present Slim… you don’t got the juice, Wilmer Wilson IV’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition will run from 31 January through 9 March 2019 with a reception for the artist on Thursday evening 31 January.
Slim… you don’t got the juice presents multidisciplinary departures from familiar modes of figurative representation, as they have evolved in the realm of photographic discourse. Wilmer Wilson IV has developed strategies of redaction and annotation in his work that begin to destabilize the norms of making and viewing portraiture through visual, material, and technical manipulation. An exploration into the complex renderings of individual subject-hood versus object-hood in portraiture, the artist has conceived of a stapled-surface-as-viewing-device that mediates image with material. The device is manifest in a series of staple works that almost fully shroud the photographic subjects beneath dense fields of metal fasteners.
The austere, randomized application of the staples onto the surface of each portrait results in a resistance of visual penetration from many angles, complicating access to the underlying figures and deconstructing the voyeuristic inclinations of the viewer. A set of large-scale ink drawings, in which small marks accumulate into compact, organ-like clusters, further interrogate the role of density in forming and describing a surface. In conversation with the staple works, they become almost speculative veils or blueprints for coating and protecting the image. Scaled wall images of figures taken while Wilson was moving at high speed are presented in the second gallery. The blurred images erode the details of their depicted subjects, and begin to confuse the function of monumentality and the narratives of value in public space. Wilson’s project prompts consideration of how we, as viewers, might conceive of portraiture in a manner that points to bodies without reducing them to mere objects of voyeuristic energy.
Wilmer Wilson IV is a recipient of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Fellowship and an American Academy in Rome Affiliated Fellowship. Select institutions that have presented his work include The New Museum, New York, NY; Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, MA; Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; American University Museum, Washington, DC; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; and In Flanders Fields Museum, Ieper, Belgium.