Things in Themselves presents the work of Steffani Jemison (b. 1981), Jennifer Packer (b. 1984) and Cullen Washington Jr. (b. 1972), the 2012–13 artists in residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Whether exploring fragile and delicate materials, developing a deeper understanding of painting or intuitively networking found materials and objects, the artists share a deep investment in the processes and techniques of making art.
Steffani Jemison creates video, performance and photo-based works. Things in Themselves includes several works on acetate, a translucent and fragile material Jemison has experimented with for several years in her print and photo work. Among these new works are prints of photographs, taken through Jemison’s studio windows, of 125th Street and its environs overlaid by an “X” of protective tape applied to the windows in preparation for Superstorm Sandy.
Jennifer Packer is a representational painter deeply engaged with the history of her medium. For Packer, painting is a very personal process; she creates portraits of friends, her immediate surroundings and, at times, herself. In addition to portraits, Packer’s works in this exhibition include paintings and drawings of utilitarian objects found in the artists-in-residence studios and around the Studio Museum building.
Cullen Washington Jr. incorporates assemblage and collage techniques to create large-scale abstract paintings on canvas. Washington’s works are often made of grids and particular patterns and rhythms that might not be apparent to viewers at first glance. But these systems and processes are linked to the core of Washington’s practice, and create an internal system in each piece and subtle connections between groups of works.
The Artist-in-Residence program is at the core of the Studio Museum’s mission, and gives the institution its name. Since the Museum’s founding in 1968, more than 100 artists in residence have created and shown work in the Museum’s studios and galleries. Among the program’s alumni are some of the most renowned artists working today, including Sanford Biggers, Leonardo Drew, David Hammons, Leslie Hewitt, Kerry James Marshall, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, Alison Saar, Mickalene Thomas, Nari Ward and Kehinde Wiley.
Things in Themselves is organized by Lauren Haynes, Assistant Curator.
The Artists-in-Residence program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council for the Arts, a state agency; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; Jerome Foundation; Robert Lehman Foundation; and New York Community Trust.