Tif Sigfrids is pleased to present the work of Heidi Jahnke (1978-2015). Jahnke was a Canadian artist who lived and worked in New York. The show will be on view between July 28th and September 24th.
The exhibition includes seven paintings made between 2011 and 2015. Like all good jokes, these paintings have the quality of ease. But behind the immediate joy of a well-crafted joke is always an intricate effort of unseen deliberations. Here it is the serious work of looking that Jahnke has done for us to humorous and sensitive effect, cropping her subjects with observant care to create acute moments of situational comedy.
In some, the humor lies on the surface like her patchwork application of paint. Ham with Top Hat (2014), for example, seems to present just what its title laconically describes: a ham with a top hat. In others humor prevails despite our impulse to “get it”—Cloud (2014), wants no explanation but will yield one if it must. These pictures are allegories of painting in their search of reasons for that which has none. But more importantly they are paintings to be enjoyed as they appear. As viewers they deliver us to dissonant places, between the celebratory and the contemplative, the miraculous and the banal, the tender and the flippant. They show us that a nonsensical rebus is both play and prank, but it can also be poetry.
Heidi Jahnke received her MFA from the University of Waterloo in 2011. Her recent exhibition at Grifter was reviewed in the New York Times. Special thanks to Adrianne Rubenstein, Dana Schutz, Ryan Johnson, and Krista Jahnke.