Genieve Figgis: Yes Captain

July 5, 2014 - August 6, 2014
Reception with the artist: Saturday, July 05: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Harper’s Books is pleased to announce a highly anticipated exhibition of recent work by Irish painter Genieve Figgis, titled Yes Captain. The show will open with a reception with the artist on Saturday, July 5, from 6:00 to 8:00pm, and will be on view in the main level and mezzanine galleries through August 6. Featuring work created earlier this year, the display will include a selection of acrylic and oil paintings executed in vibrant color on both board and canvas. While Figgis has been honored with solo exhibitions in Europe, this will mark the first public presentation of her work in the United States.

Painting at the intersection between abstraction and portraiture, Figgis unites an abiding interest in history with a penchant for the macabre. As critic David Rimanelli notes, “the figures populating Genieve Figgis’ paintings emanate from some luminescent netherworld, suspended between life and death, or living life and death or life through death in a land of the willingly lost, enchanted and menacing by turns.” Laden with both humor and anxiety, her work is at once wrought with emotional intensity and haunted by psychological deviance, rooted in her ethereal caricatures of genteel society gone awry.

Incorporating sourced imagery of royalty from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Figgis engages in an ongoing dialogue with the court painter tradition, exploring the absurdity of history and power dynamics — subjects deeply related to her Irish heritage — through depictions of English aristocracy, grandiose architecture, and baroque fashion. By means of her distinctly anti-academic aesthetic, which features motifs that are, at turns, psychedelic and grotesque, Figgis' work implies a sense of distrust in authority figures and accepted dogmas, instead relegating them to a place of ridicule and farce.

Indicative of current trends in communication, in which social media has the power to engender changes in public perception, Figgis’ induction into the American art scene was largely through the Internet, where she first gained recognition in New York circles on Twitter and Instagram. Through her autonomous self-promotion and resoundingly positive public reception, Figgis has acquired a reputation as a rising talent in contemporary art, whose unique style has garnered the attention of notable collectors and art enthusiasts worldwide.

A native of Dublin, Ireland, Figgis has exhibited extensively since completing her BFA and MFA degrees at The National College of Art and Design. During the past two years, she has contributed work to group shows at Flood Gallery in Dublin, Angell Gallery in Toronto, and Mall Galleries in London, and has been featured in solo shows at Transition Gallery in London, Talbot Gallery in Dublin, and Studio 9 in Wexford. In fall 2014, Half Gallery will organize a solo exhibition of her work in New York. She is currently represented by Fulton Ryder.

Genieve Figgis: Yes Captain will coincide with the release of the artist's first book, Making Love with the Devil, published by Fulton Ryder and featuring an essay by David Rimanelli.