Intimate Immensity

Exhibition Info
Curated by
Alexis Granwell
Intimate Immensity presents work dealing with touch, materiality, the sensual, and the subversive.

Opening Reception & Panel Discussion: February 15, 5:00 - 7:00 pm

Intimate Immensity presents work dealing with touch, materiality, the sensual, and the subversive. Whether an object or image, the works in the show engage with the abstract vocabulary of the psyche, the body, memory, mythology, and the decorative.

Organized by PAFA faculty member Alexis Granwell, the show features work by contemporary sculptors, selections from PAFA’s recently-acquired Brodsky Center archive, and rarely-shown works from the museum's permanent collection.

As Bea Huff Hunter writes in her essay for the exhibition, the work of these 11 artists is cast as feminist: "Collective, restorative, experienced by many folks, and so, so bodily. The tactility of folds, wrinkles, lumps, curves, dots, and twists sends me back and forth in a sort of sensual conversation between my body and the 'bodies' of many of the works." 

Brie Ruais’ work explores the force of the body in her large, painterly, ceramic sculptures where clay is torn, spread, and pressed. The amorphous, freestanding, and hanging works by Fabienne Lasserre create a sci-fi and fantastical feel, acting as windows and voids with their fragile, limb-like frames. Alexis Granwell’s biomorphic sculptures incorporate handmade paper, wood, and concrete, referencing ruination of built structures and the body, suggesting an unearthing of the past and geological time.

The four artists included from the Brodsky Center archive highlight the visceral elements of handmade paper: El Anatsui’s semi-transparent Kozo work echoes language, pattern, and textile with its seams, folds, and wrinkles that feel almost skin-like; Lynda Benglis’s wrought, bold sculptures layer paint and gold-leaf on chicken wire wrapped in Abaca, capturing the shifting topography of a figure or landscape in motion;  Joan Snyder’s muscular and brightly-colored paperwork seamlessly layers pulp and petals with her complex and expressive painting vocabulary; and Chakaia Booker’s multi-layered paper sculpture explodes from the wall, creating a feeling of entropy, with a deconstructed form based on shapes from a ripped tire.

Michelle Segre’s playful assemblages weave together various materials, including yarn, thread, fan parts, and a saw, building immediacy and a sense of transformation as the total of these items becomes more than its parts. Sun You’s delicate small-scale sculptures juxtapose fashion accessories, industrial materials, and knick-knacks, suggesting vulnerability and slow unraveling. You’s works hang gently from the wall and are displayed as a collection on a low hand-painted table. Judy Chicago and Louise Bourgeois, two prominent sculptors and iconic feminist artists, directly point to the lineage of the exhibition, celebrating artists that collaborate with their materials in inventive abstractions.

About the Artists

El Anatsui was born in Ghana and currently lives and works between Ghana and Nigeria. In 2015, he was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, the Venice Biennale’s highest honor. Anatsui has been featured in many international exhibitions, including the Carnegie International (2018), the Marrakech Biennale (2016), and The Contemporary 2 at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan, (2015), and the Venice Biennale in both (1990) and (2007), among others. He has created large scale public installations, including Broken Bridge II, commissioned by High Line Art, on view 2012-2013, and Tsiatsia – Searching for Connection, which was installed on the façade of the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2013. Public collections include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Brooklyn Museum, New York, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Washington, the Akron Art Museum, Ohio, the St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri, the Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, the Setagaya Museum, Tokyo, and the British Museum, London. El Anatsui has been represented by Jack Shainman Gallery since 2005.

Lynda Benglis (Lake Charles, LA, b. 1941) resides in New York, Santa Fe and Ahmedabad, India. Benglis has created sculptures that eschew minimalist reserve in favor of bold colors, sensual lines, and lyrical references to the human body. But her invention of new forms with unorthodox techniques also displays a reverence for cultural references that trace back to antiquity. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts grants, among other commendations. Benglis’s work is in extensive public collections including: Guggenheim Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Modern, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Chakaia Booker (Newark, NJ, b. 1953) resides in New York City. Booker’s work is included in many public collections including: Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Akron Art Museum; Cornell University's Johnson Museum of Art; The Max Protetch Gallery; and June Kelly Gallery. She has participated in both group and solo exhibitions in such places as the The Renwick Museum, Neuberger Museum of Art, The Akron Museum of Art, Marlborough Gallery, and the PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, as well as in the "Twentieth Century American Sculpture" exhibition held at the White House in 1996. Booker participated in the 2000 Whitney Museum Biennial. She is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Grant in 2002 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005.

Louise Bourgeois (Paris, France, b.1911-New York, NY, d. 2010). Her first retrospective was organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1982–83). Bourgeois was selected to be the American representative to the 1993 Venice Biennale. In 2000, I Do, I Undo, and I Redo—three 30-foot-high towers commissioned by the Tate Modern in London—were featured in the museum's inaugural exhibition. Many of her large-scale works have been exhibited as public art, including three spider sculptures installed at Rockefeller Center in New York in 2001. Major museum retrospectives have since been organized by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2001–02); State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg (2001–03); and Tate Modern, London (2007–08)—an exhibition that traveled to the Guggenheim Museum (2008). Bourgeois's achievements have been recognized with a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1973), membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1981), the National Medal of Arts (1997), the Leone d'Oro (1999), a Medal of Honor from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia (2005), the 2006 Intrepid Award from the National Organization for Women (2006), and the Woman Award from the United Nations and Women Together (2007), among others.

Judy Chicago (Chicago, IL, b. 1939). A pioneer of feminist art since the early 1970s, Judy Chicago advocates issues of women's liberation and independence through diverse media including paintings, drawings, sculptures, and collaborative installations. Her iconic work The Dinner Party (1974—1979), which is now permanently installed in the Brooklyn Museum of Art's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, is widely regarded as one of the most influential works of feminist art. With Miriam Schapiro, Chicago co-founded the Feminist Art Program at the California Institute of the Arts—the first program of its kind—and collaborated on the formative installation Womanhouse (1972). More recently, Chicago has expanded upon her efforts in gender politics, focusing on broader social issues. Her work has been exhibited extensively at venues such as the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the New Museum, the Centre Pompidou, the Whitney Museum, and the Jewish Museum in New York.

Alexis Granwell (New York, NY, b. 1981) lives and works in Philadelphia. She received an MFA from The University of Pennsylvania in 2007. She is a co-director and one of the founding members of Tiger Strikes Asteroid. She has exhibited many solo exhibitions, including at Fleisher/ Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA; Giampietro Gallery, New Haven, CT; Towson University, Baltimore, MD; Bryan Miller Gallery, Houston, TX; and Europos Parkas Museum, Vilnius, Lithuania. Other group exhibitions include Field Projects, New NY; Ortega y Gasset, New York, NY; Momenta Art, New York, NY; Trestle Art Gallery, New York, NY; IPCNY, NY; Artist-Run, Miami, FL; Elephant, Los Angeles, CA; Hemphill Gallery, Washington DC; University of Richmond Art Museum, Richmond, VA; Fjord Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; and CTRL Gallery, Houston, TX. Granwell is a recipient of The Independence Foundation Fine Arts Fellowship Grant for 2015. Through this grant, she attended a residency at Dieu Donne in New York, NY. Her work has been reviewed in Sculpture Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, Two Coats of Paint, Title Magazine, and Art F City.

Fabienne Lasserre grew up in Montreal, Canada, and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. This year, her exhibits included “Make Room for Space” (Solo show, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, NY); “Les Larmes” (Solo show, Parisian Laundry Gallery, Montreal, Canada); “To the Nothing” (2 outdoor sculptures at St-Gaudens National Historic Site, Cornish, NH); and “The Nervous Hand”, a two-person show with Ezra Tessler (315 Gallery, Brooklyn, 2018). Lasserre has participated in numerous group exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally, amongst these, “Feed the Meter vol. 2” at Ceysson Bénétière Gallery, Luxembourg (2017) and “C.Ar.D. in città” (2015), at Palazzo Costa Trettenero, Piacenza, Italy. Other group shows include “Beyond the End”, Kadist Foundation, Paris (2014); “Outside the Lines”, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, TX (2013); “Saber Desconocer”, Museo de Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia (2013); “La Triennale québecoise” (2011), Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; "Come Through" (2010), Sikkema Jenkins & Co., NY , "Foreign Object" (2010), Regina Rex, NY, and "Hace Mucho que No Te Veo" (2010), at Espacio Matucana 100, Santiago, Chile. She was a recipient of the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program award (2016-17) has completed a residency at Dieu Donné Papermill (Workspace Program, 2012), and received two Project Grants for Visual Artists from the Canada Council for the Arts (2013 and 2014).

Brie Ruais (Southern California, b. 1982) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA from Columbia University's School of the Arts in 2011. Her work has been exhibited at institutions including the Katzen Arts Center at American University, Washington, DC, and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Solo exhibitions include forthcoming Albertz Benda Gallery, NY, NY (2019), Night Gallery, LA (2018); Cooper Cole, Toronto, Canada (2018); Halsey McKay Gallery, Easthampton, NY (2017); Nicole Klagsbrun, NY (2013). Ruais’ work has been included in group exhibitions at Susan Inglett Gallery, NYC, September Gallery, Hudson, NY; Sperone Westwater, NYC, Rachel Uffner, NYC, Maccarone, NYC, and Xavier Hufkens, Brussels. Awards and residencies include The Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant (2018), The Sharpe Walentas Studio Program (2018), the Dieu Donne Fellowship (2016), Montello Foundation Residency (2017). Her work is featured in Vitamin C: New Perspectives in Contemporary Art, Clay, and Ceramics, by Phaidon (2017).

Michelle Segre lives and works in New York City. She is a graduate of the Cooper Union School of Art. Segre has had recent solo exhibitions at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, The University of the Arts, Philadelphia PA and The University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, TN. In 2017, her work was shown in exhibitions at The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS; and Ceysson and Benetiere, Luxembourg, as well as others. Segre has been included in shows at the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in NY; the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, CT; the Tang Teaching Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY; and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in Colorado, amongst others. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and The Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga Springs, New York. Segre is a past recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters  Award,  the  John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship, and a Tiffany Foundation award. She is represented by the Derek Eller Gallery in New York.

Joan Snyder (Highland Park, NJ, b. 1940) has been presented in more than 100 exhibitions since 1970, including the 1973 and 1981 Whitney Biennials and the 1975 Corcoran Biennial.  Snyder’s art is represented in many leading American public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York Public Library,  The Jewish Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Harvard University Museums, Cambridge, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco. Snyder is the recipient of a 1974 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a 1983 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, a 2007 MacArthur Fellowship, and a 2016 Arts & Letters Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. Snyder lives and works in Brooklyn and Woodstock, New York.

Sun You is a Seoul born, New York-based artist. You has exhibited her work in galleries and museums internationally. Recent exhibition venues include Queens Museum, Corona, The Korean Cultural Center, New York, Scotty Enterprise, Berlin, Kunstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral, Bad Ems, Seoul Arts Center, Seoul, The Anderson Gallery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, and The Suburban, Chicago. You is and was an artist in residence at Sharpe and Walentas Studio Program, Hunter College, Ace Hotel, Marble House Project, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Triangle Arts Association, Künstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral. She was also selected as Artists to Watch in 2016 by WIDEWALLS and 18 Artists to Watch, by Modern Painters, 2015. You’s artist book, ‘please enjoy!’ with Small Editions, was acquired by the Whitney Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University and the NY Public Library. Recent solo exhibition venues include l’espace 71 in Seoul (2016), Secret Dungeon, Brooklyn (2018), The Anderson Gallery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond (2018), SARDINE, Brooklyn, NY (2018) and You is scheduled to have a solo at The Pit, Glendale, CA (2019). You heads President Clinton Projects, a curatorial project and co-runs a non-profit gallery, Tiger Strikes Asteroid New York. She is also a co-founder and core-member of An/other New York, a collective of Asian and Asian American visual artists, writers and curators.