Alejandro Piñeiro Bello, Jes Fan, Joel Gaitan, Florian Krewer, Rebecca Manson, Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, Jesse Murry, Robert Nava, Ilana Savdie, Kiki Smith, Astrid Terrazas, Lucía Vidales, Issy Wood
Opening Celebrations: Friday, October 6: 7–10 PM
The works in the exhibition Perhaps the Truth suggest that the truth is not a fixed or absolute concept, but rather something that is shaped by experiences and shifting perceptions. Perhaps the Truth is inspired by the writings of Wallace Stevens (1879–1955) and the late painter and poet Jesse Murry (1948–1993).
The exhibition title directly comes from a line in Stevens’s long-form poem Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction (1942): “Perhaps / The truth depends on a walk around a lake.” The act of walking around the lake, like the process of making and viewing work, leads to various interpretations of truths and helps us make sense of the world and our place within it. Influenced by Stevens’s poetry, Murry also believed in painting as a “supreme fiction”–– through acts of disbelief and imagination can we save ourselves. He writes, “What has prompted this effort toward humanity is a necessary belief in art’s saving powers of address.”
The exhibiting artists’ paintings and sculptures in Perhaps the Truth reveal expansive definitions of truths. Some create dreamscapes that are surreal, hallucinogenic spaces that transcend boundaries. Others look beyond our earthly imaginations to broaden notions of the self. Classifications of human, animal, and spirit are blurred. Gender binaries are dismantled. Biological, organic, and artificial life are merged. The exhibiting artists mine ancestral histories and folklore, to form new mythologies for the future.
Much like Murry’s landscape paintings, in which he created an “inwardness” and “poetic dimension” through “extra-visual content,” many of the artists here use saturated color, rich textures and varied materials, creating visceral experience. The works in the exhibition are imbued with a feeling of freedom and transformative capacities––a world free of fixed identities and singular experiences. Perhaps the Truth is in tribute to the spirit and legacy of both Stevens and Murry, whose works, like the works on view, are in the process of searching for what makes us who we are.
Perhaps the Truth features work by Alejandro Piñeiro Bello, Jes Fan, Joel Gaitan, Florian Krewer, Rebecca Manson, Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, Jesse Murry, Robert Nava, Ilana Savdie, Kiki Smith, Astrid Terrazas, Lucía Vidales, and Issy Wood.
Perhaps the Truth is organized by Fairfax Dorn with Daisy Nam with assistance from Alexann Susholtz. Opening Celebrations of Perhaps the Truth, October 6–7, kick-off Ballroom Marfa’s 20th-year anniversary.
Alejandro Piñeiro Bello (b. 1990) is a Cuban visual artist who delves in the ﬁelds of painting, sculpture, installation, photography, video art and virtual reality. He graduated with honors at the National Academy of Fine Arts “San Alejandro” in Havana (2006-2010), where he was later appointed Creative painting professor (2010 to 2011). He founded and was for seven years a member of the Havana based collective STAINLESS (2010-2017). He authored major public art projects for the XI, XII and XIII Havana Biennials (2012, 2015 and 2019). Both The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, New York, and The Rockefeller Brothers Fund in collaboration with Pioneer Works, New York (in 2014 and 2017 respectively) bestowed him scholarships. Since 2017, Piñeiro leads a solo career and lives and works between Havana and Los Angeles and Miami. His work is part of private collections around the world and in public ones such as The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation Collection New York (NY), The Gilbert Brownstone Foundation Collection, Paris (France), The MOLAA Collection, Los Angeles (California), The Chrysler Museum Collection, Norfolk (Virginia) and The Virginia Museum Collection, Norfolk (Virginia).
Jes Fan’s (b. 1990, Scarborough, Canada) interdisciplinary practice explores the intersection of biology and identity, incorporating living matter, as well the invisible substances that shape how we experience the world like melanin, and hormones, into his sculptures. Through this process, Fan looks at how these highly politicized materials form our understanding of the social constructs of race and gender, and the absurd pursuit to locate these to quantifiable amounts of material. Originally trained in glassmaking, Fan combines hand-blown cellular glass forms with casts made from sections of human bodies, cast in aqua resin and bearing uncanny flesh-like tones. Removed from the context of the figure, these forms take on abstract qualities, repeated and distorted across architectural armatures, suggesting an experience of the body that is increasingly intertwined with, and mediated by technology.
Jes Fan lives and works in Brooklyn and Hong Kong. In 2022, Fan participated in The Milk of Dreams The 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia curated by Cecilia Alemani, Venice. Additionally, Fan’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including Symbionts: Contemporary Artists and the Biosphere, MIT List Visual Arts Center, 2022, Breaking Water, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, 2022, Soft Water Hard Stone, The Fifth New Museum Triennial, New Museum, New York, 2021, The Stomach and the Port, Liverpool Biennale, United Kingdom, 2021, NIRIN, Biennale of Sydney, Australia, 2020, The Socrates Annual 2019, Socrates Sculpture Park, Queens, 2019. Fan was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Grant in 2022. In 2023, he will present his second solo show with Empty Gallery, Hong Kong titled Sites of Wounding: Chapter 1.
Joel Gaitan (b. 1995) celebrates life, death, and the afterlife. Gaitan’s work studies the matters of self-identity, sexuality, and ancestral lineage. From forgotten tongues, to erased cultures, Gaitan immerses into traditional hand-building clay techniques, keeping a sacred tradition from Nicaragua & Central America alive in a colonized world. Raised within Pentecostalism, Gaitan still carries the music, verses, and The Holy Spirit with his own interpretation. Gaitan highlights Nicaragüense lifestyle and aesthetics with ceramics and other mediums depicting portraits, utilizing elements of poetry, colors, and storytelling. Gaitan uses each work as an offering to the ancestors; those who have been encountered, and those who have not.
Florian Krewer (b. 1986, Gerolstein, Germany) studied painting at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Solo exhibitions include boogie nights, Tom Dick or Harry, Düsseldorf; pinkflavor, TRAMPS, New York; Car Park Godiva, Michael Werner Gallery, London; Eyes on Fire, Michael Werner Gallery, New York and TRAMPS, New York; and Florian Krewer: ride or fly, Michael Werner Gallery, London. The artist is a recent recipient of the Prix Jean-François Prat awarded by the Bredin Prat Foundation and was included in Es liebt Dich und Deine Körperlichkeit ein Verwirrter. Florian Krewer, Raphaela Simon, Carina Brandes at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf this year. Krewer lives and works in the South Bronx, New York.
Rebecca Manson (b. 1989, New York, NY) is a graduate of the ceramics department at the Rhode Island School of Design, Manson is a sculptor with both a high-grade technical toolbox and a pursuit of breakable rules. Her subject is nature and its lessons, observed in her gardens and surroundings in the countryside immediately north of New York City.
Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya (b. 1989) graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with an MFA in Sculpture + Extended Media in 2020. Montoya’s works are a fantastic becoming that center around anthologies and social issues concerning border culture, abjection, and mestizaje.
Montoya has recently exhibited at the Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA; Murmurs, Los Angeles, CA; Tuscon Museum of Contemporary Art, Tuscon, AZ; Residency Art Gallery, Inglewood, CA; Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles, CA; Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA; Company Gallery, New York, NY; and Sargent’s Daughters, New York, NY. His work has been reviewed in artnet news, The New York Times, Hyperallergic, and Contemporary Art Review LA.
Jesse Murry (1948-1993) was born in Fayetteville, NC, and raised in White Plains, NY. He attended Sarah Lawrence College where he studied art and philosophy. Following his graduation in 1976, Murry moved to New York City and immersed himself in the contemporary art world. His essays on artists such as Howard Hodgkin, Hans Hofmann, and Elizabeth Murray appeared in a range of publications and catalogues, including Arts Magazine. In 1982, he curated the exhibition, Reverend Howard Finster, at the New Museum. After two years of teaching art history at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Murry enrolled in the Yale School of Art at the age of thirty-six, where he was a student of Andrew Forge, Jake Berthot, and Harold Bloom. Murry received his MFA in 1986 and staged his first New York solo exhibition at Sharpe Gallery the following year. In 1983, he was awarded a Mellon Individual Project grant and in 1988, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant. Despite the budding success of his work in the final years of his life, Murry’s work has rarely been exhibited since his death in 1993 at the age of forty-four. Clay Hapaz curated Radical Solitude at Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, in 2019, Murry’s first solo exhibition in thirty years; this was followed by Jesse Murry: Rising at David Zwirner, New York, co-curated by Lisa Yuskavage and Jarrett Earnest in the fall of 2021.
Robert Nava (b. 1985) received his BA in Fine Art from Indiana University Northwest in 2008, and his MFA in Painting from Yale University School of Art in 2011. Known for his vibrant and mischievous approach to figuration, Nava’s creatures pulsate in electric colors within the frames of his large-scale paintings.
Solo exhibitions of Nava’s work have been presented at Vito Schnabel Gallery, New York; Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Sorry We’re Closed, Brussels, Belgium; Pace Gallery, Palm Beach, FL; and V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark. Nava’s work has been included in group exhibitions at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Carl Kostyal, Malmö, Sweden; and Safe Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, among others. Nava’s work is included in the permanent collections of The Art Institute of Chicago and the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami. Nava lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Ilana Savdie (b. 1986) was raised in Barranquilla, Colombia and is currently based in Brooklyn, NY. She received her MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2018 and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2008. Furthermore, Savdie is the recent recipient of the Horizon Art Foundation Residency, as well as the NXTHVN Studio Fellowship and TOY Foundation Fellowship. Savdie is recognized for her surreal and electrifying beeswax, acrylic, and oil paintings which invert traditional associations of figuration and composition. Her distinctive style employs the transformative power of performance as a vehicle to displace control, embrace the grotesque, and dismantle ideas of binary identity relating to migration, foreignness, and familiarity.
Savdie’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; The Jewish Museum, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA; and The Rachofsky Collection, Dallas, TX; among others.
Kiki Smith (b. 1954, Nuremberg, Germany) has been known since the 1980s for her multidisciplinary practice relating to the human condition and the natural world. She uses a broad variety of materials to continuously expand and evolve a body of work that includes sculpture, printmaking, photography, drawing and textile.
Smith has been the subject of numerous one-person exhibitions worldwide including over 25 solo museum exhibitions. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the recipient of several awards including the 2012 National Medal of Arts, conferred by Hillary Clinton; the 2010 Nelson A. Rockefeller Award, Purchase College School of the Arts; the 2009 Edward MacDowell Medal, and the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture in 2000, among others. In 2006, Smith was recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the “TIME 100: The People Who Shape Our World.” She is an adjunct professor at NYU and Columbia University.
Astrid Terrazas (b. 1996) was born in Jaurez, Mexico. Taking the form of mixed media painting and illustrated ceramic vessels, Astrid Terrazas’ symbolic work re-writes worlds. With unflinching vulnerability, Terrazas conveys stories that push personal and communal trauma towards tangible healing. Working in an illustrative, highly detailed style, Terrazas’ multimedia paintings resemble a visual dream diary full of transient figures, archaic symbols, and illogical narratives. Merging dreamscapes, Mexican ancestral folklore, lived experiences, and unearthly transfigurations, Terrazas’ personal range of recurring motifs function as artifacts of protection and evoke universal metaphors of transformation.
Terrazas received her BFA in Illustration from Pratt Institute in 2018. She has exhibited work at P·P·O·W, New York, NY; Y2K Group, New York, NY; Andrea Festa Fine Art, Rome, Italy; Marinaro, New York, NY; Fort Makers, New York, NY; Gern en Regalia, New York, NY; Front Gallery, Houston, TX; 98 Orchard St, New York, NY; and Nicodim, NY, NY; among others. Her work has been featured in articles in Art in America, Art Maze Mag, The Art Newspaper, and The Brooklyn Rail and was recently on view in 52 Artists: A Feminist Milestone at The Aldrich Contemporary Museum of Art, Ridgefield, CT, and Boil, Toil + Trouble.
Lucía Vidales (B. 1986, Mexico City) lives and works in Mexico. Vidales earned an MFA in 2014 at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Faculty of Art and Design, in Mexico City; and a BFA in 2009 from La Esmeralda National School of Painting, Sculpture, and Printmaking of the National Institute of Fine Arts, Mexico City. She is currently an Art Professor at University UDEM and has been awarded three times with the Jovenes Creadores grant by the Secretaría de Cultura, Mexico.
Vidales has exhibited extensively in Mexico as well as internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include: Sudor Frío, PROXYCO, New York (2021); Manoteta, PEANA, Monterrey, Mexico (2021); To cool the blue, Taka Ishii Gallery Ph / F, Tokyo (2020); Noche durante el día, Sala Gam, Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City (2019); Come as you are, House of Deslave, Tijuana (2019); and Cuerpo de esta sombra, Galería Alterna, Mexico City (2018). Notable recent group exhibitions include: Four Women Painters at the Crossroads, Sapar Contemporary (at Piero Atchugarry Gallery), Miami (2020–21); Murales para un cubo blanco, Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City (2020); Daichi Takagi, Lucia Vidales, Hiroka Yamashita, Taka Ishii, Tokyo (2020); and City Prince/sses, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2019).
Issy Wood (b. 1993) is an emerging contemporary London-based artist known for her painterly synthesis of the past and present in her signature nightmarish aesthetic that alludes to traditions of surrealism. Born in the United States, Wood received her BA in fine art from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2015 before completing graduate studies at the Royal Academy Schools in 2018.
Wood has participated in highly acclaimed group exhibitions at White Cube, London; Mendes Wood DM, Brussels; the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; and Tate, St. Ives. In 2019, Wood revealed a series of tiny oil portraits of legendary comedienne Joan Rivers and an installation of over 1,000 hand-painted floor tiles at the Zabludowicz Collection’s World Receivers exhibition. In the same year, she also took to the stage with her largest solo exhibition to date, titled All The Rage, at the Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art in London. Her practice spans painting, writing, and music. Wood is also a successful musician who produces under Mark Ronson’s label Zelig Records with several singles and EPs available on streaming services.
This exhibition is generously supported by Texas Commission on the Arts, Michael Werner Gallery, Josh Lilley Gallery, Pace Gallery, KDR305; Ballroom Marfa Board of Trustees and International Surf Club Founders: Rachel & Jeff Arnold, Louisa Stude Sarofim, Sara Carter, Eleanor Acquavella Dejoux, Christopher Hill, and Alex Logsdail.
Additional thanks to Empty Gallery, Gamma Galería; The Green Family Art Foundation, Eunei Lee, Murmurs Gallery, The Jesse Murry Foundation, P·P·O·W, François R. Roy, Peter Stevens, and Lisa Yuskavage.