Alexander Berggruen opens an exhibition of works by Sholto Blissett, Emma Fineman, and Madeline Peckenpaugh

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Alexander Berggruen opens an exhibition of works by Sholto Blissett, Emma Fineman, and Madeline Peckenpaugh
Madeline Peckenpaugh, Places of Rest, 2021. Oil on canvas, 52 x 64 in.

NEW YORK, NY.- Alexander Berggruen presents Sholto Blissett, Emma Fineman, Madeline Peckenpaugh. This exhibition will open Friday, December 10, 2021 at the gallery (1018 Madison Avenue, Floor 3).

Sholto Blissett, Emma Fineman, and Madeline Peckenpaugh are contemporary artists whose depictions of time and space disorient linear readings and question the natural world. Though their approaches vary perceptively, through painting—and sculpture as well for Fineman—each artist explores humanity’s fluctuating relationship with the surrounding environment.

Sholto Blissett constructs fantastical landscapes, marked by imagined monuments and topiary in the foreground. They are eerie scenes suffused with the tension between human attempts to modify nature, and nature’s resistance to these contortions. Blissett reveals this attempt to control nature as a human self-delusion: “humanity is indivisibly connected to–even embedded within–the natural world.” As demonstrated in Blissett’s work, nature asserts its presence among these man-made elements: moss and vines cover portions of marble structures, tree branches break the clean lines and symmetry of pillars, and water erodes stones leaving cracks and disfigurations. And of course, there is the looming presence of vast mountainscapes in the distance, encroaching on this puny false-Eden. The power of these scenes works upon the viewer, reminding us that while we may alter the world, we will never dominate it; indeed, we will always be at nature’s mercy.

Emma Fineman paints and sculpts scenes from her memory, resulting in gestural imagery that unsettles conventional notions of time and space. In the face of contemporary tensions—including those wrought by digital interactions with the world—Fineman attempts to grapple with present human experience. Utilizing a Cubist approach to depict the timeline of allegories results in what she calls “layered narratives”, which allow her to examine moments from various perspectives on one deeply textured surface. The artist composes ambiguous rooms and landscapes, often as the setting for enigmatic figures where ideas of past and present collide. She interrogates, in her words, “the possibilities of figurative painting to both extend and compress descriptive time in response to the tempo and speed of culture now and the effects this enacts on memory and perspective.” As Fineman’s psychologically-charged figures transcend timelines, the planes in which they exist challenge the distinction between exterior and interior spaces.

Madeline Peckenpaugh renders depth through layers of paint, transcending the boundaries of the flat canvas while rejecting formal perspective techniques. The paintings unfold through iterations of addition and subtraction, such as sanding and scraping. Through this process, coincidences and resemblances help the space unfurl as marks of paint become subjects themselves. In speaking about her work, Peckenpaugh stated: “I’m interested in shifting the scale of everyday elements to suggest them as something other than their normal appearance and function. By weaving and constructing these elements together, they build an environment within the painting that can turn otherworldly.” Interlacing forms are rendered in both single tones and fluctuating textures, enhancing the optical illusion of the imagined world. Her resulting abstract scenes often resemble landscapes, as interrupting thick lines morph into trees, rolling verdant hills unfold in the distance, and flowers emerge from the textured brushstrokes. As a viewer navigates between the expanses and limits of the space created within Peckenpaugh’s paintings, one may be reminded of another reality beyond the known.

Sholto Blissett (b. 1996, Salisbury, UK) received an MA in painting from the Royal College of Art in London and a BA in Geography from Durham University in Durham, England. The artist’s work has been exhibited at Nicola Vassell, New York; White Cube, London; Saatchi Gallery, London; and Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London, among others. Blissett will be included in forthcoming group shows at L.U.P.O., Milan; Perez Projects, Berlin; and Hannah Barry Gallery, London. Blissett lives and works in London.

Emma Fineman (b. 1991, Berkeley, California) received an MA in Painting from Royal College of Art in London and a BFA in Painting from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. Her work has been shown at BEERS London; PUBLIC Gallery, London; Mana Contemporary x Palazzo Monti, NJ; Saatchi Gallery, London; East Wing Biennial 13, Somerset House, London; Versus Art Project, Istanbul, Turkey; and Harley Gallery & Museum, Nottingham, among others. Fineman was a 2021 Hopper Prize Finalist and a shortlisted candidate and exhibitor for John Moores Painting Prize at Liverpool Museums, Liverpool. She was also included in Bloomberg New Contemporaries, exhibiting in both the Liverpool Biennial 2018, and the South London Gallery 2018 London, UK. The artist lives and works in London.

Madeline Peckenpaugh (b. 1991, Milwaukee, Wisconsin) received an MFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI and a BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA. Peckenpaugh’s work has been exhibited at 1969 Gallery, New York, NY; the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI; Abigail Ogilvy Gallery, Boston, MA; Avery Galleries, Bryn Mawr, PA; and Seraphin Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, among others. Her work is included in the public collections of the Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA; Ghent House, Columbia County, NY; Brown University, Providence, RI; and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA. Peckenpaugh lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

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