James Sheehan at Songs for Presidents
Songs for Presidents presents
James Sheehan, at the lek
January 16, 2015 to February 15, 2015
Opening Friday, January 16, 6 to 9pm
With at the lek, James Sheehan presents a new body of paintings that ruminate on the nature of creativity, mortality and what it means to make a mark. His work has long been noted for its approach to scale (many of the paintings are miniscule). However, his use of scale is misleading. Avoiding the freakish spectacle of painting “on the head of a pin,” the work invites the viewer to trip into a playful dialogue with a single image as an experience. He acknowledges that the act of seeing is something that we do with our whole bodies, not just with our eyes. Through this act of seeing, we open ourselves up to the vastness of history and the specificity of place.
In Sheehan’s words:
Scale of these works in relation to the architecture, viewer and socio-political environment are key to their content. Meticulous, miniscule form has a spatial counterpart that is vast and expansive; bodily/physically experienced. This is my painterly dilemma as well as my political one. “Entering in” versus “surrounded by” mean something in this context. Intimate yet boundless formally, I want to bring forward a slower, transcendent absorption of an image, to broaden the conversational or dialectical context for that image as it is being interpreted.
Born in San Francisco, CA (1964), James Sheehan studied Art History at U.C. Berkeley (1989) and Painting at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia / Rome, Italy (1994). Living and working in New York for the past 20 years, Sheehan has had solo shows in Zurich, Montreal and New York. Group exhibitions in Tokyo, Munich, New York, San Francisco, Zurich and Moscow. Numerous grants and awards include the NYFA, Arcus Residency in Japan, LMCC, Pollock-Krasner, and Sharpe Foundation grant. Currently installed IN the wall at the Drawing Center (New York) is a drawing on view through August 2015.