Sargent's Daughters opens Shary Boyle's New York solo presentation

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Sargent's Daughters opens Shary Boyle's New York solo presentation
Nida, 2022, Acrylic gouache on linen, marbled porcelain, glass beads, trim, crystals, 18 x 24 x 4 inches.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sargent’s Daughters is presenting The Forgetting, the first New York solo presentation of Toronto-based artist Shary Boyle. Boyle’s practice bridges diverse forms of artmaking, including sculpture, drawing, installation and performance. In 2013, Boyle represented Canada at the 55th Venice Biennale, and her work has appeared in major international venues, including the Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, South Korea; The Gardiner Museum, Toronto, Canada; and Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA. In this exhibition, the artist combines a range of materials, as well as specific social and political histories, to produce a new body of work which explores the formation of personal identity in the midst of cultural crisis. Concurrent with The Forgetting, Boyle’s traveling solo exhibition, Outside the Palace of Me, is on view at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada through January 12, 2023.

Boyle began her career working across drawing and performance, collaborating with musicians to create live multimedia theater. In the early 2000s, she developed an interest in ceramics and started to produce her own versions of porcelain figurines, a hobbyist craft with connotations of kitsch and domesticity. By presenting explicitly feminist messages within this traditional medium, Boyle instigated critical reevaluations of traditionally feminized “craft” art forms. Her continued exploration of historical ceramic forms, as well her large-scale installations and evocative paintings, have gained an international audience.

This presentation features works from Boyle’s series, The Grafters, so-called because they splice together the media of painting, drawing, ceramics, and textiles, much like grafting different apple species onto a single tree, or transplanting skin in grafts. These works feature solitary portraits silhouetted against abstract backdrops, often accompanied by floral arrangements. The figures exist within a visual world of imagination, while the three-dimensional sculptural elements represent an “objective” reality – something unstable and often fabricated. Ceramics, buttons, and decorative trims attached to the stretched linen interrupt and deface the pristine illusion of painting, and reference the materiality of the body and earth. To the artist, this contrast illuminates the complicated dimensions between our inner, and outer selves.

Three free-standing porcelain sculptures on twisting steel bases accompany The Grafters. Entitled Justice, Rage, and The Forgetting, they represent a triad of contemporary North American conundrums. Boyle both appropriates and disrupts techniques drawn from Meissen and other traditional European porcelain manufacturers to produce these detailed compositions. While the porcelain material references the past, their content considers contemporary attempts to redefine the concept of “Nation” while reckoning with the slippery, violent forces of racism, sexism, and colonialism.

The Forgetting confronts the dissonance of contemporary society, inviting us to transform our boundaries of experience.

Shary Boyle (b. 1972, Toronto, Canada) works across diverse media, including sculpture, drawing, installation and performance. Highly crafted and deeply imaginative, her practice is activated through collaboration and mentorship. Boyle’s work considers the social history of figurines, animist mythologies, antiquated technologies and folk art forms to create a symbolic, politically charged language uniquely her own.

Shary Boyle’s work is exhibited and collected internationally. She represented Canada with her project Music for Silence at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013, and her work has been featured at the 2017 Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale in South Korea and the 2021 Kaunas Biennial in Lithuania. Boyle is the recipient of Canada’s Hnatyshyn Foundation Award, the Gershon Iskowitz Prize, and holds a 2021 Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Ontario College of Art and Design University.

Outside the Palace of Me, a major solo exhibition of new work commissioned by The Gardiner Museum in Toronto will travel to The Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal in 2022, and the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2023. An accompanying monograph was published by Art Canada Institute in Fall 2021.

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