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September 9-12, 2021   Javits Center

Summer Wheat

Sand Castles

Presented by Shulamit Nazarian
Location: Entrance of VIP Lounge
Pier 90
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Curator's Statement

Queens-based artist Summer Wheat debuts a 16-foot-long painting, titled Sand Castles, designed specifically for The Armory Show 2020. For several years, Wheat has explored the archetype of the female figure in vibrant, narrative tableaus that resemble dense woven tapestries. Using a technique of pushing acrylic paint through fine wire mesh, the figures emerge in richly textured surfaces that coalesce into a type of contemporary history painting. Sand Castles depicts a community of women in acts of labor and leisure; a beach scene featuring women bathing, fishing, cracking crabs, swatting flies, sunbathing, and eating strawberries. Wheat’s painting make references to ancient traditions, from Egyptian pictography to Roman gardens of antiquity, but her focus is a current-day critique of how women’s labor is often unacknowledged or diminished. Through her strategic use of exaggerated and contorted female forms, nearly psychedelic color patterns, and pronounced sense of energy, Wheat elevates the quotidian experiences of woman to a monumental scale and celebrates their ability to collaborate and rely upon one another.

About the Artist

Summer Wheat (b. 1977, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) received a BA from the University of Central Oklahoma and an MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design. Recent solo exhibitions include the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City (2020); KMAC Museum, Louisville (2019); Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles (2018); Smack Mellon, New York (2018); Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle (2017); and Oklahoma Contemporary, Oklahoma City (2016). Additional museum exhibitions include Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2013–14); deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park (2013); and Torrance Art Museum (2013). Wheat received the 2016 New York NADA Artadia Award and the 2019 Northern Trust Purchase Prize at EXPO Chicago. The artist’s work is in the permanent collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; Peréz Art Museum Miami; The Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington, Seattle; The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC and the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. Blood, Sweat, and Tears, the artist’s largest solo museum exhibition to date, is currently on view at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City through May 2020. Wheat will have a solo exhibition with Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles in 2021.