Characterised by their soft and muted colour palette, New-York based artist Genesis Belanger's outlandish renditions of everyday objects in ceramic examine visual and consumer culture in contemporary America.Read More
After graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004, Genesis Belanger worked briefly in the fashion industry then as a prop stylist's assistant for five years. She enrolled in the MFA programme at New York's Hunter College in 2009, where she studied painting before moving onto sculpture. While discussing the limitless possibilities of ceramics, now her primary medium, Belanger told Sculpture Magazine in 2019 that her ultimate goal is 'for the sculpted object to be as fluid as a drawing'.
Genesis Belanger's artworks are often described as whimsical and lighthearted. A touch of the absurd is apparent in Matchless (2019), in which a pair of mismatched socks, adorned with pom-poms, belie the seriousness of formal business-shoes that they inhabit. One For Me and One For My Friend (2019) is an enigmatic table setting: a bottle wears a donut around its neck, while another has a finger sticking out of it. Two canapés, with short blue sausages embedded in dollops of cream, evoke female breasts or the phallus.
At the same time, Belanger's sculptures tread on repulsion, leaning on body horror in some. Two grey eyes are pickled in a half-opened can in Something Fishy (2017); a mouth pops in the midst of innocent flowers in the stoneware vase Center Piece (2018). In Swollen (2018), ripe fruits fill the inside of a foot in a low platform shoe, causing the flesh above the ankle strap to bulge. The pain is almost contagious, with a sense of foreboding that the foot might burst any minute.
The cigarette is a recurrent motif in Belanger's work, acting as the legs of a stool (Dog in Heels and Sitting Habit, 2017) or bending over a pill like a caterpillar (Space to Fill, 2018). As the artist told It's Nice That in 2018, the cigarette references its early 20th century marketing as a symbol of the independent modern women and, by extension, implicates the external mechanics that manipulate societal values and how individuals shape themselves.
Genesis Belanger cites historical and contemporary examples to explore the rules that society imposes on its members, especially women. Breakfast in Bed (2019), in which she juxtaposes a plate of ordinary breakfast with a wedding ring, suggests the persisting linkage between marriage and women's household duties. In The Party's Over (2020), her solo exhibition at rodolph janssen in Brussels, Belanger considered objects that purport to empower women while maintaining traditional definitions of femininity, such as an iron with its cord cut in We are done here and a large handbag in Famished (both 2020).
Through the Eye of a Needle, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Connecticut (2020); Coins for Ferryman, François Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles (2019); Holding Pattern, New Museum, New York (2019); A Strange Relative: Genesis Belanger and Emily Mae Smith, Perrotin, New York (2018); Cheap cookie and a tall drink of water, Mrs. gallery, New York (2017).
Good Pictures, Jeffrey Deitch, New York (2020); A Love Letter to a Nightmare, Petzel Gallery, New York (2020); No Patience for Monuments, Perrotin, Seoul (2019); Distortions, Nathalie Kang Gallery, New York (2018); Happiness and Other Forms of Self Delusion, Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, New York (2016).
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