She desired the fruit of the tree. She desired life. She desired history. She desired the body.
Anat Ebgi is pleased to announce a group exhibition Discreet Histories, featuring works by Faith Wilding, Azadeh Elmizadeh, Nicki Green, Sergio Miguel, and Joshua Petker. The exhibition will be on view from November 18 through December 16 at 4859 Fountain Avenue. An opening reception will take place on Saturday, November 18 from 5–7pm.
Discreet Histories takes a close look at a group of artists who each draw from specific cultural and personal histories to examine concepts of mythology and folklore. Through a conscientious absorption and engagement with the past, the artists traverse individual and fantastic terrains. Across portraiture, abstraction, drawing, and sculpture, the works express political anxieties, gender constraints, desire, and social freedoms in a conversation informed by art history, with an eye tuned to possible futures.
The diaristic watercolours of Faith Wilding's Daily Text Panels, 1987 comprise of text and image. Organic forms—brains, limbs, and wombs in bright washes of pigment are annotated by Wildling's ruminations. She pours her words onto paper to illuminate conscious mental shadows, to transform fleeting sensations into articulate script.
Delicate line work of Nicki Green's titular ceramic sculpture A Discrete History of Intimacy and Violence (double urinal basin with faucets), 2019 depicts her subject's shoes glimpsed below a bathroom stall—a site where the private and public converge. Green's conceptual reconfiguring of these plumbing fixtures echoes Wilding's playfulness with joining appendages as a metaphor for becoming and transformation. Green's ornamental vessels are imaginative provocations that also nod to her Jewish heritage. The bidet and faucet forms also evoke mikveh, the bath used in purification rituals of washing and immersion, a practice which began in ancient Judaism.
Mexican artist, Sergio Miguel created a trio of portraits in oil depicting children alongside imaginary reptilian companions. Are these trained pets, or prehistoric guardians? Their coiling tails and darkly romantic imagery hearkens to Wilding's Leaf Goddess: Bandaged Cactus, 1976, which evokes cocoons—totemic life forces—simultaneously animal and vegetal. The human-animal-plant relationship is questioned by both artists through symbolic avenues. Miguel's boyish figures confront viewers with their outward gaze and formality, while Wilding's sheathed columns are suggestive of chrysalis and embryo, both capture a silent attentiveness that exudes harnessed energy forces.
The gauzy, thinly layered paintings of Azadeh Elmizadeh draw inspiration from ancient Persian mythology and allegorical stories. Her works for this exhibition consider a creation story through the form of rhubarb seeds and the fleshy stalks that mature from them. Plant life and agriculture play an important role in these mythologies as metaphors for incubation, regeneration, and poetics of the earth. Similarly in Leaf Series: Cocoon, 1976-78, Wildling turns to visual forms of enveloping and unfurling. Both artists use biomorphic abstraction of plants to point toward the cyclical nature of life. These interpretations of seed pods, petals, flora and fauna are lessons on flux and unknowability.
Joshua Petker's scenes plunge viewers into the artist's dreamworld—a place coloured by the finality of history and the haziness of memory. Presenting visual culture reshuffled—from Bronzino to soviet era cartoons—his references infuse the paintings with a levity, while entering into a dialogue with traditions of image-making through an emotional approach. His lingering spectre-like figures float between materialisation and dissolution, revelling through expansive historical timelines. Together these artists weave narrative, interiority, and psychological space with their engagement of historic ways of working. Turning material of myth and symbols into explorations of identities, subjectivity, and social relations.
Faith Wilding (b. 1943, Paraguay) has exhibited extensively worldwide since the late 1960s. A 2014 retrospective of Wilding's work, Fearful Symmetries, traveled to five venues across the United States. Wilding's work was also included in the seminal survey WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, organised by Cornelia Butler, which travelled from the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles) to the National Museum of Women (Washington DC), PS1 Contemporary Art Center (Long Island), and the Vancouver Art Gallery. At the influential Los Angeles exhibition Womanhouse, 1972, Wilding's 'Womb Room' fiber installation and performance, Waiting, are some of the best known and highly influential works of the 1970s Feminist Art Movement. Wilding's book By Our Own Hands, catalogs this important era of experimentation and collaboration that defined west coast Feminist art during the early 1970s.
Wilding has exhibited at museums such as The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; The Drawing Center, New York, NY; Documenta X, Kassel, Germany; the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, MA; the Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, Spain; Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, Scotland; and the Bronx Museum of Art, New York, NY. Wilding is Professor Emerita of Performance Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has taught at institutions Cooper Union, New York University, the Woman's Building in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Art Institute. While teaching at Carnegie Mellon University in the 1990s and 200s she was a co-founder of the cyberfeminist collective, subRosa. Wilding was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009 and has been the recipient of numerous grants for the past five decades. In 2014, she was awarded the prestigious Women's Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, Minneapolis Institute of Art, RISD Museum, University Club of Chicago, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Wilding lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island.
Azadeh Elmizadeh (b. 1987, Tehran, Iran) is a visual artist based in Toronto, Canada. She holds an MFA from the University of Guelph and a BFA from OCAD University and Tehran University. Elmizadeh has presented solo and two-person exhibitions at Sea View (Los Angeles, US); Tube Culture Hall (Milan, IT); the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Lethbridge, AB); Franz Kaka (Toronto, CA). Her work has been exhibited internationally at Europa and Harkawik (both New York, US); Public Gallery (London, UK); The Blackwood (Mississauga, CA); Kamloops Art Gallery (British Columbia, CA). Elmizadeh's work has been written about in Hyperallergic Frieze, Blackflash Magazine, Canadian Art, Border Crossings, The Globe and Mail, the Editorial and Elle Canada and she was the 2020 recipient of the Joseph Plaskett Award in painting.
Nicki Green (b. 1986, Boston, MA) completed her BFA in Sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute and her MFA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley. Green has exhibited her work internationally, notably at the New Museum, New York, NY; Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris, France; The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA; and as part of La Biennale de Lyon, France. She has contributed numerous publications including Transgender Studies Quarterly, Fermenting Feminism, Copenhagen and The Center for Arts Research publications, University of Oregon, Eugene. Green is a 2022 Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award Winner, a 2022 Nancy Graves Foundation Grantee, and was a 2020 Art Matters Fellow. In 2019, she was a finalist for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's SECA Award, and a recipient of the John Michael Kohler Art Center, among other awards and residencies. Green is an Assistant Professor of Ceramics at Alfred University, New York.
Sergio Miguel (b. 1992, Mexicali, Mexico) received his BA in Art History and his MFA in Studio Art from Columbia University. Recent solo exhibitions include Army of Angels at Deli Gallery. Group exhibitions include De Por Vida curated by Ken Castaneda at Company Gallery and The Fool at 8th House Projects in Mexico City.
Joshua Petker (b. 1979, Los Angeles, CA) completed his MFA at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 2015 and his BFA at Evergreen State College in 2002. He has exhibited his work in solo exhibitions at Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles, CA; Rachel Uffner, New York, NY; ASHES/ASHES, Los Angeles, CA; and Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles, CA; as well as group exhibitions at albertz benda, New York, NY; Althuis Holland, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Spurs Gallery, Beijing, China; Carl Kostyál Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden; La Loma Projects, Pasadena, CA; and ACME, Los Angeles, CA. Petker lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
Press release courtesy Anat Ebgi.