Second Nature-Bob’s Bedside (1 and 2), 2020 Diptych Oil on canvas 45.7 x 30.5 x 1.9 cm 18 x 12 x 3/4 in-Almine Rech Gallery
Chloe Wise, Bob's Bedside (day), 2020, Oil on canvas, 20.3 x 14.9 cm, 8 x 5 7/8 in, © Chloe Wise - Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech - Photo: Chloe Wise.
Chloe Wise
Second Nature
August 3 - August 13, 2020

Almine Rech is pleased to present Second Nature, an online exhibition of new paintings by Chloe Wise, on view from August 3 - 13, 2020.

The late French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu intervened within the discourse of consumption habits in his landmark study Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste (1979), a text that is essential reading for the lovers and collectors of Chloe Wise’s work.

Wise’s work is formally and conceptually diverse, yet identifiable through its recurring symbols. Whether it is her bricolaged figurative paintings with modernist and postmodernist points of reference, delightfully anachronistic video performances, or food sculptures that look like hyperreal midcentury curiosities from a grandparents’ cottage, Wise emphasizes the joys of the everyday. The everyday is not necessarily ordinary, Wise’s work reminds us; our shared cultural moments of absurdity are a historical throughline in her oeuvre.

Second Nature focuses on small scale micro portraits, a departure from Wise’s larger scale group paintings. Wise’s first digital show, an experiment in widespread accessibility where space is further collapsed, is an outcome of a health and geopolitical crisis that has compelled us to question our own values, pleasures, and desires.

It can be argued that the ongoing pressure for cultural relevance in the arts and humanities is a consequence of neoliberalism, the logic of the free market is imposed on artists who strive to balance conformist modes of discipline with experiential diversity. In this global moment where many are closely evaluating the contours of identity, violence, microaggressions, dog whistling, and the systemic mistreatment of people embodying various categories of identity, it is easy to succumb to the urge to politicize anything. In other words, getting lost within competing tensions and antagonisms could take up all of our days and evenings. 

Politicization is an urgent and necessary conversation, but Wise also urges us to study the nuances of formal details, like a glass of water that is given the same attention as a vividly hued portrait, occupying a space that is both dystopian and optimistically camp. Wise’s attention to a vast array of moments both banal and beautiful reminds us of the fragmented plurality of this fraught moment in our collective imaginaries.

- Kristen Cochrane

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