Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Leidy Churchman: Heart Drop, the next exhibition in his gallery at 1062 North Orange Grove. Featuring twenty new paintings, this will be Churchman’s first one-person exhibition in Los Angeles in five years.
Churchman’s new paintings address our understanding of the nature of reality through our direct relationship with what lies before our eyes. They invite us into a world of signs and symbols that are both personal and specific, gently encouraging us to drop what we think we know about what’s going on.
Like the physical sensation before you jump into a body of water, plummet from a roller coaster, or take off in an airplane, the paintings in Heart Drop put us in the immediate. There’s no room for anything else. The past is gone. The future is uncertain. There is no solid ground beneath our feet. There is only the possibility of the moment.
According to the classic Buddhist text the Heart Sutra, this moment, the drop, the take-off, the plummet, itself is empty. Emptiness is not nothingness. It means that every experience, including our own emotions, is impossible to conceive. We call it empty because we can’t explain it.
Churchman cracks Magritte’s 1937 painting La reproduction interdite (Not to be Reproduced), into twenty jewel-like frames each with subtle differences. Magritte wrote, “The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the mind itself is unknown.” With unfettered brushwork, Churchman embraces emptiness with multiple images dancing askew, giving us the sense that the painting could go on infinitely.
Churchman’s paintings illuminate the cracks that lie in any attempt to make things solid. Each painting is separate but connected in a way that disregards hierarchy. There is a free flow of engagement that is part philosophical investigation, part unadulterated horseplay.
“The paintings float in a deep mirror in and of themselves,” says Churchman. “It’s like a snowball hitting snow.”
Leidy Churchman (b. 1979) lives and works in New York and Maine. Churchman’s work has been included in group exhibitions at museums including MoMA PS1 in New York, Fondazione Prada in Venice, Museum Brandhorst in Munich, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and last year’s Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art. One-person exhibitions include the Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne, the Boston University Art Gallery, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the Hessel Museum at CCS Bard in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.