Paradigm Gallery is pleased to present Dead Kings, an exhibition of new works by the Philadelphia-based artist Kate Glasheen. The exhibition, marking Glasheen's first solo presentation with the gallery, will open on January 25, and remain on view through March 16, 2019. There will be an opening reception at the gallery on January 25, from 5:30 to 10pm.
Documenting history through line, Glasheen's latest expertly-wrought ink on paper drawings express historical realities and their all-too-relevant association to our present-day political climate.
Delicately rendered in exquisite detail, Glasheen's new series represents a departure from the artist's previous more conceptually abstracted works. Employing an historically literate approach, Glasheen critically depicts the opulence and excesses of the past. For Glasheen, there is a narrative through line connecting the rulers of the past with the contemporary leaders of today.
Drawing with virtuoso skill, her finely hatched, original portrayals of the kings and monarchs of past civilizations serve as stark reminders of the potential dangers of a dictatorial state. Historical tyrants with absolute power often exercised it in a cruel or oppressive way. Through the centuries, autocratic powers have proven to be unsustainable over time. Centralized, dictatorial systems of government requiring complete subservience to the state eventually fall.
From Glasheen's vantage, the cycle of repression continues today, as one despot is deposed by another. Her historical figures are represented as human skeletons, elaborately dressed, ostentatious characters decorated in showy, complex patterns. For all of their extravagance, Glasheen's kings have been reduced to mere bone and cartilage, the remaining parts of something after its life or usefulness is gone. Once-revered, all-powerful sovereigns--their features humorously exaggerated--are effectively satirized, lampooned to caricatures.
Proffering a vision of a world run by venality--one we can identify with today--Glasheen's skillfully composed, intricate line drawings remind viewers of the connective tissue between historical civilizations and our modern political times, the rulers of the past and the 'kings' of today.