Grace Carney Wrestle

November 12, 2022 – January 27, 2023

beacon is pleased to present the first solo exhibition Wrestle by US-American artist Grace Carney. The artistic practice of Carney consists of two self-contained bodies of work, namely large-size drawings and paintings. Her works combine a multitude of references that range across Japanese Shunga, western Baroque and Renaissance painting, as well as contemporary media and her own body, which Carney builds into her individual artistic expression and style. The exhibition shows a selection of both works on paper and works on canvas in juxtaposition with each other, illustrating their intricate relation. 

The three framed drawings are part of a series, each depicting two life-size figures who seem to be wrestling with each other. While the harsh lines of the muscular limbs and torsos forcefully intertwine, the hands and feet, in contrast, are characterized by a delicate softness that implies tenderness and intimacy in their touch. The figures merge into a landscape of entangled body parts that transcends the lines between anger and love, aggression and submission, movement and confinement.

Similarly, Grace Carney’s paintings are defined by their ambiguity. At first glance they might appear to be abstract works, however, hidden within the details and the multiple layers of paint are figurative elements that tell of an underlying narrative. Caressing the Hair of a Sleeping Girl with His Face, for example, is based on a piece by Picasso that shows a Minotaur atop a young woman.

Forgoing – even struggling against – specific interpretation, the artist creates an affective space that invites the viewer to engage with the paintings and fill the gaps with their own associations, imagination and emotion.

Grace Carney (*1992, Minneapolis) currently lives and works in New York City. She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, the Slade School of Art, London, and the New York Studio School, NY, where she recently graduated. She was awarded the Jane C. Carrol Scholarship (2020-2022) and the Hohenberg Travel Grant (2022). Carney’s works have been shown in the group exhibitions Three Women, Steven Harvey Fine Arts Projects, NY (2022) and I’m Not Your Mother, PPOW, NY (2022).

Hannah Niemeier