Trestletown Stomping Ground
October 10 to November, 17 2019
The Tibor de Nagy Gallery is pleased to present Trestletown Stomping Ground, an exhibition of recent paintings by Sarah McEneaney. The exhibition marks the artist’s seventh with the gallery and the first at the gallery's Lower East Side location. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition with an essay by the artist and writer Trevor Winkfield.
The exhibition will consist of eight paintings all made since 2015. In these works, McEneaney continues her project of documenting her life in a seeming prolonged self-portrait. She paints herself in her home and working in her studio. We see her at her desk and coming home from shopping while her pets await her return. This body of work also shows her in and around her neighborhood, Trestletown, in the Callowhill section of Philadelphia, and the urban landscape that surrounds it.
These diaristic paintings are made utilizing planes of bright colors broken up by areas of patterning and abstraction. Interspersed throughout are a myriad of intricate details, often revealing paintings within paintings. Her approach has been compared to a savvy folk-art, noting that she at times uses a skewed perspective, and at other times an allover flatness. McEneaney's works also have a spontaneous feel, but this effect comes out of numerous preliminary sketches, often made from neighbors' rooftops.
McEneaney has lived in this area of Philadelphia since she bought an old factory and warehouse, after graduating from art school in 1979. She is an ardent activist in the neighborhood, helping to create the first neighborhood association, of which she is president. She was also pivotal in the transformation of a defunct elevated train track, the Reading Viaduct, into a park. This is not only a neighborhood she paints, she has also distinctly shaped it. Included in the exhibition are two large-scale paintings, When You Wish and Trestletown from the Wolf which depict the new verdant railway park coursing through a now mixed-use neighborhood of graffiti strewn old factories, church steeples and repurposed buildings.
McEneaney's subject matter has been a constant throughout her career and as Trevor Winkfield notes in the catalogue's essay - McEneaney has painted her home and studio so many times that both have become as familiar to her audience as that other serial unfolding, Cézanne’s Mont St. Victoire. And like Cézanne’s repeated analysis of that legendary mountain, each time McEneaney scrutinizes her home it looks a little bit different, as she changes viewpoints over the years.
McEneaney received a certificate of painting from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and studied at Philadelphia College of the Arts. She had major solo exhibitions at the Chinati Foundation, Marfa, TX and the ICA Philadelphia. Her work has been included in numerous museum exhibitions including Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has had regular solo gallery exhibitions in New York since 2001 and Philadelphia since 1979. McEneaney received a Purchase Prize from the Academy of Arts and Letters in New York and has been awarded artist residencies at the Chinati Center, the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Ballinglen Art Center of County Mayo in Ireland. Her works were recently acquired by the Hood Museum at Dartmouth College, the Delaware Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.