Press Release

Exhibition of New and Recent Works by Ginny Casey and Jessi Reaves

Philadelphia, PA

Exhibition Brings Together Two- and Three-Dimensional Works by Emerging Artists Working at the Intersection of Sculpture, Painting, Decoration, and Domestic Objects

Opening April 28, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA) will present Ginny Casey & Jessi Reaves, an exhibition featuring new and recent works by two emerging artists exploring the relationship between contemporary painting and sculpture, domestic objects, and decorative surfaces. The joint exhibition features more than 30 works by painter Ginny Casey and sculptor Jessi Reaves, several of which were created specifically for this exhibition, that image and reimagine the form and function of objects encountered in daily life. On view through August 6, the exhibition is organized by Whitney-Lauder Curatorial Fellow Charlotte Ickes and illuminates each artist’s examination of the space between interior and exterior, surface and structure, fancy and function, dependency and autonomy, inanimate and animate—polarizations that are often parsed along lines of gender and sexuality.

“We are thrilled to present the first in-depth view of the work of both Ginny Casey and Jessi Reaves in a U.S. institution, providing an opportunity for our audiences to deeply engage with the meaning of objects as they move between domestic interiors and their presentation in a museum context,” noted Amy Sadao, Director of ICA. “We are especially excited that they will both create brand-new works for this exhibition, inspired in part by their dialogue with one another and our curatorial team.”

Ginny Casey’s paintings present surreal still-life scenes of vases, chairs, fans, hammers, tables, and other things of everyday life. The strange colors and characteristics of these works create an uncanny and, at times, unsettling dissonance at the level of scale, color, and composition. These paintings share a sensibility with the sculptures of Jessi Reaves, who customarily builds on found frames of chairs, couches, and shelves to create sculptural artworks that double as functional furniture. From bulging, stained upholsterer’s foam to patterned and embroidered fabric, the imperfect and ornamented surfaces of Reaves’ sculptures often reimagine functionalist design and lend each object an unexpected animacy that exceeds its original use.

“The installation of the exhibition will build upon intersecting histories of commercial, domestic, and museum displays often associated with women’s work, insisting on art’s other life:  decorative and functional objects that are lived with, loved, and used but also enchanted, erotic, unruly, whimsical, and weird,” said Charlotte Ickes, curator of the exhibition. “We were grateful to have the opportunity both to introduce Ginny Casey and Jessi Reaves to one another and to present their works in conversation across mediums.”

A fully illustrated catalogue designed by James Goggin will accompany the exhibition, and will feature new scholarship by Ickes and Julia Bryan-Wilson, Associate Professor, Department of History of Art, University of California, Berkeley.

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