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Almine Rech

Everything Looks Like a Nail (To A Hammer)

Mar 9 — Apr 26, 2024 | Pond Society, Shanghai, China

Pond Society is pleased to present Everything Looks Like A Nail (To A Hammer), a solo exhibition of paintings by artist Emma Stern.

The late art critic Harold Rosenberg observed that it's important to remember the art world is a comedy. No one gets this better than painter Emma Stern. She knows who she is-both sides of the pros and cons aisle- and leverages her talent commensurately to her biography. You might see her at the studio donning a "my parents think I'm studying" t-shirt but that doesn't mean she's not in the permanent collection of the Rubell Museum in Miami. "I think my paintings could be considered funny because there is a self-awareness to them which makes them vulnerable," says Stern. "Sometimes when things are uncomfortable, they make us laugh. Discomfort can be hilarious."

Pirates on jet skis or cowgirls hitching down that lonely highway, Emma Stern takes her avatars on the road: Tough, sexy, and overflowing with presence. The compositions are intentionally over-the-top to the point of parody which aligns them more closely to the humor underneath. And don't mistake the prevalence of swords or chainsaws or nunchucks as condoning physical aggression. "I don't feel that my work is particularly violent," explains Stern. "There are a lot of weapons, but they always seem very flaccid to me, not dangerous. Maybe that is how I deal with the concept of violence, by making it totally impotent."

Press release

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