Kevin McNamee-Tweed: Moon Over Math Town

October 28, 2020 - December 5, 2020
They have many ways to measure existence
Time and Science and Literature and Music
And many many numbers 
But the moon still comes up

Moon Over Math Town, Kevin McNamee-Tweed’s first exhibition with Harper’s, features a selection of new ceramic paintings, drawings, and handmade ceramic spoons. With stylistic virtuosity and a dislocated sense of authorship, McNamee-Tweed’s ceramic paintings are at once quotidian and enigmatic. Anchored firmly in the tradition of painting and image-making, the modestly scaled, technically complex works feature vivid surfaces and textures; an image with a heightened corporeal presence. The group of drawings, all pencil on mulberry paper, demonstrate aesthetic and thematic dexterity while plainly celebrating the mechanics of making marks and images. Visual Culture, in these drawings and paintings, is strained to the point of incoherence as the acts of looking and of deciphering replace messaging. 

In the array of handmade ceramic spoons, the artist offers a pivot from pictorial concerns. Using a range of clay bodies, including those dug up from the earth around his home in Iowa City, the collection of spoons signals the importance of experimentation, research, and play in McNamee-Tweed’s practice. The body of work holds firmly to a simple premise and a simple form, yet, in exhausting the language of a spoon, begins to unravel the very definition of what is a familiar, faultlessly utilitarian, and elegant everyday object. Underpinning all the work on view in Moon Over Math Town is a fundamental curiosity about meaning-making—its limits, its depths, its plateaus.

I am interested in considering the ways in which we measure existence. Always I am looking at science, literature, math, sports, community, romance, self-hood, etcetera as compelling ways of imposing some scale and proportion to what is infinite and unfathomable. I’m trying to think and not think myself through all that. Objects and images are not entirely satisfactory conclusions of such questions but they are perhaps okay examples of what it feels like to be alive. I hope that my work can befriend the staggering and heartbreaking assumptions inherent in any pursuit of understanding / knowledge / whatever but will also articulate an awareness of some very sweet and infinite void.

– Kevin McNamee-Tweed

Accompanying the presentation of new work, a selection of the artist’s various publications will be on view and available. Harper’s Apartment is open to the public every Thursday through Saturday, 12:00pm–6:00pm; no appointment is necessary.