11 April - 10 May 2019
Anna Kaplan Contemporary is pleased to announce Here We Are, a show of painted portraits by Katherine McMahon (New York, NY), Gordon Shadrach (Toronto, Ontario), and Adam Weekley (Buffalo, NY). Here We Are opens on Thursday, April 11th with a reception 6-9 pm and remain on view through May 10, 2019. Gallery hours are Wednesday – Friday 11am – 3pm, or Saturday – Tuesday by appointment (contact Anna at 716-604-6183, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Here We Are is a show of contemporary portraiture exploring issues of identity. Paintings included by Katherine McMahon are self-portraits, joining work by Gordon Shadrach and Adam Weekley that reflect parts of each artist’s individual identity, but because the figures are portrayed in a way that highlights an anonymity, the viewer is invited to project their own ideas and experiences. All three artists are utilizing the medium of painting— acrylic on canvas or wood panel—Shadrach employing vintage and antique frames to add a conceptual layer of the traditional. Shadrach is known for his striking portraits that focus on Black youth and the formal frame treatment is on one level meant to function as a reclamation of Black heritage in the art historical context, where it is often notably absent. Also included are Shadrach’s portraits of Black sitters on opaque, dark backgrounds, intended to highlight the innate bias of Western Art and Colour Theory. Through the dark backgrounds, he invites viewers to reflect on their own interpretation of colours and how they relate to the subject.
Adam Weekley, best known for his illustrations and installation work, is venturing into the painted image for the first time, though the imagery is not at all tentative. With an aesthetic related to his works on paper, the portraits included in Here We Are retain a flatness and illustrative quality, but are much larger than his often intimately-scaled works on paper. Weekley’s portraits are anonymous, as the faces are always concealed in one way or another, by a piece of clothing or an awkward bodily limb— putting the viewer at a voyeuristic vantage. The three paintings created for this show utilize a bright orange ski mask to hide the faces of the male figures. Weekley’s formal choices in terms of color and content are meant to force an interaction between hegemonic ideas around what is hyper-masculine and hyper-feminine.
Also included is a series of self portraits by Katherine McMahon created for the opportunity of this show. McMahon sees this body of work as a self-reflective exploration of portraiture as it relates to being a woman and how women use and share their image through contemporary filters and channels (for example, through social media, dating apps, selfies, sexting, etc). McMahon’s work often explores the quickly changing relationship to contemporary media. She’s interested in asking— how does exposure to these projections shape our world view and effect our interpretation of the world around us? Does access to a greater variety of imagery make us more visually literate, or does sensory overload threaten to overwhelm us and cause us to put blinders on?
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
KATHERINE MCMAHON is a painter, portrait photographer, and the Creative Director at ARTnews magazine. She recently completed an artist residency at the Elaine de Kooning house in East Hampton, NY. She studied Fine Arts at Towson University and F.I.T. in New York City and currently lives and works between Brooklyn and East Hampton, NY. McMahon was included in PLAY/GROUND 2018 in Medina, NY this past Fall (www.artplaygroundny.com for more info). Concurrent to Here We Are is an installation of McMahon’s work in The Corridors Gallery at Hotel Henry, curated by Resource:Art.
GORDON SHADRACH was born and raised in Brampton, Ontario and has been based in Toronto for over 25 years. He received his B. Des. (MAAD) from OCAD University and has a Master of Education degree from Niagara University. He has participated in multiple group exhibitions including the Artist Project Toronto, the Riverdale Art Walk, the Queen West Art Crawl and the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. Shadrach has also been the feature of solo exhibitions including at Black Artist Network and Dialogue (BAND) Gallery and Cultural Centre in Toronto. He has been featured on CBC Arts, CBC news, CBC’s Metro Morning, and was a panelist on TVO’s the Agenda (Reinventing the Museum). In the Spring of 2018, Gordon’s painting, “In Conversation”, was included in an exhibit developed by the Royal Ontario Museum titled, “Here We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary Art,” which was also presented at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and will open at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia this coming June.
ADAM WEEKLEY is an installation artist living in Buffalo, New York. In 2003, Weekley graduated from the MFA program at the University at Buffalo where his work moved from mostly two-dimensional drawings and paintings into the realm of large-scale installation. His work has been exhibited widely in WNY including at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Western New York Book Arts Center and most recently at Box Gallery where he installed “Nest” in 2018. He is the recipient of a number of grants and honors and is a recent addition to the Burchfield Penney’s Living Legacy Project. Weekley has continued to develop a body of work that comments on social and political concepts through the creation of painting, drawings and objects that play with artifice and the hyper-real. Weekley is currently an Assistant Professor in Fine Arts at Villa Maria College in Buffalo.
Artists in This Exhibition: