Jackie Gendel: Wilderness of Mirrors

11 - 25 August 2021

Philip Martin Gallery is proud to present “Wilderness of Mirrors,” an on-line exhibition of paintings and works-on-paper by Rhode Island-based artist, Jackie Gendel. Jackie Gendel’s works engage texture, line, color and form to create alluring, narrative moments.


In Jackie Gendel’s work, the face and the body are a motif, often engaging with others against elaborately designed backgrounds. The figures can be seen talking, fighting, and gathering in an array of different locations such as in a garden, a room, or a landscape of mirrors. In some instances, the bodies are faceless, engaged in some physical activity. Whereas in others, the expressions themselves convey the atmosphere. Gendel notes that the people in her paintings are “in different states of awareness.” She comments, “I paint people because the process of painting a portrait is similar to identity formation…the materials, the spills, the language, tells me who this person is becoming.”


In many ways, Gendel’s works are reminiscent of Modernist portraiture and Expressionism. While they are at first glance figurative, they hold themes of whimsy and humor, amongst those of social commentary. We can see this represented in her work, “News from Nowhere.” In the painting, we’re shown a crowd of androgynous figures gathered together, colored with hues of pinks and reds. The visual aspects of the work are evocative of Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” as the figures are portrayed in a flowing, disjointed manner. The title, taken after an 1890 utopian novel by William Morris, suggests a world inspired by creativity and shared, public space.


Throughout her work, Gendel explores a "neo-modernist motif," one that serves "as a means of constructing a fiction between fragmented figure and crowd." Individual figures in Gendel's work play off groupings; people exist in pictorial spaces, drawn as if pulled through dance or theatrical design. Much of her recent work makes contradictory use of two of modernity’s most common conventions of image production: serial repetition of form and the sequential image of narrative. She employs both, using them simultaneously to unfold the implied relationship between narrative time and painterly process. “I keep on painting the heads and faces over and over again until they get to a place that feels resolved and poignant and mysterious,” Gendel comments. “I try to get to a place that is unexpected to me.”


Jackie Gendel (b. 1973, Houston, TX) received a BA from Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO) and an MFA from Yale University (New Haven, CT). Her work has been the subject of solo and group exhibitions at Thomas Erben Gallery (New York, NY); Pratt Manhattan Gallery (New York, NY); Jeff Bailey Gallery (Hudson, NY); Moti Hasson (New York, NY); Mixture Contemporary Art (Houston, TX); and Loyal Gallery (Malmö, Sweden). Gendel’s work is included in the collections of Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Hartford, CT); and the Progressive Collection (Mayfield Village, OH). Her work has been featured in publications such as Artforum, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Art in America, Hyperallergic, Modern Painter, and Art Papers. Gendel lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island.


Jackie Gendel’s exhibition is on-line through August 25, 2021. Kristy Luck’s exhibition of new oil-on-linen paintings is on view at the gallery through August 14, 2021.


Philip Martin Gallery is open Tuesday - Saturday from 10-4 and by appointment. Pre-scheduled appointments are available, and walk-ins are welcome. To make an appointment, or to get additional images, or information please email info@philipmartingallery.com, or call 310-559-0100. Philip Martin Gallery is located at 2712 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034 in the Culver City area of Los Angeles between Venice Blvd. and Washington Blvd., just south of the 10 Freeway.