Wexner’s new art exhibition aims to push the boundaries of abstract painting

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Jacqueline Humphries, “Untitled”, will be featured in the exhibition, and her pieces lead viewers to reflect on the way paintings are made and question the limits of what painting can be. Credit: Courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York. Photo: Jason Mandella

Art and the digital age meet in the first large-scale museum exhibition by abstract painter Jacqueline Humphries at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

The exhibition, entitled “jHΩ1 🙂 ”, which went on display on Saturday and running through Jan. 2, 2022, showcases more than 30 paintings by Humphries, as well as his largest multi-panel installation to date, according to a Press release. Melissa Starker, spokesperson for the Wexner Center, said Humphries pushes the boundaries of abstract painting by incorporating common elements of digital communication, such as emojis, emoticons and CAPTCHAs, into her works.

“It’s that really nice combination of abstraction – which can be seen as a little intimidating at times – and things that anyone who uses a phone or computer is familiar with,” Starker said.

Starker said the exhibition also features a variety of other works by Humphries, including his paintings that explore the visual language of logos, fluorescent paintings exposed to black light and a selection of protest paintings.

Regardless of medium or subject, Starker said Humphries’ work is characterized by its engaging nature and the unique way it makes the viewer feel.

“It’s interesting because abstract expressionism is literally, you know, meant to be an explosion of raw emotion straight from the painter,” Starker said. “There’s something about the way Jacqueline approaches this that feels more like inviting the viewer, rather than just presenting something to absorb.”

Starker said the Wexner Center is known for its original architecture, which Humphries and guest curator Mark Godfrey took advantage of when they created their distinctive gallery setup for the exhibition. Daniel Marcus, associate curator of exhibits at the Wexner Center, said visitors familiar with the center will be surprised at how Humphries and Godfrey have transformed the building through the exhibit setup.

“As you browse the galleries, you go through the last seven years of his career and follow the changes in his process and his changing interests,” Marcus said. “But you’re also navigating a dialogue with the architecture of the Wexner Center, and that’s really the key.”

Marcus said the Humphries exhibit reinvents the architecture of the building in a way that makes it “magical” again for staff.

“It really helps to have an artist working with us who can help us see what we have, and see how inspiring and provocative architecture can be, for artists and for us and for visitors.” , Marcus said.

Marcus said Humphries found ways to continue creating abstract art in a digital world that is no longer defined by canvas and oil paintings.

“Throughout her career – and it’s an ongoing process – she has tried to think about this problem and work within the framework of the painting being in quotes ‘dead’,” Marcus said. “In some ways, I think she just proved this whole idea wrong.”

Humphries created paintings in this exhibition that make viewers think about how paintings are made and question the limits of what painting can be, Marcus said.

“The thing to look for and think about with this exhibition, at least I think, is how these works engage, capture the elements of our digital lives and use them and show us the world of the screen in a way that we do not know? Marcus said.

Admission to jHΩ1 🙂 ”is free for members and students. More information on Jacqueline Humphries and her exhibit can be found at the Wexner Center’s website.


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