Tracey Morgan Gallery is pleased to present All This and More, an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by artist Margaret Curtis. This is Curtis’ second solo exhibition with the gallery.
The works in this exhibition focus on themes of climate and societal collapse. With her own brand of wit, Curtis tackles these universal threats from a deeply personal place, and with impeccable craftsmanship.
Curtis has been exploring and making work about the forests of the Pecos Wilderness in northern New Mexico for over 30 years, relics of which can be found in several pieces included in this exhibition. The catastrophic Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon wildfire, which burned for over four months in the spring of 2022, permanently destroyed these forests so dear to her. The soil, structurally altered from the intensity of new fire phenomena and no longer able to absorb water, will be shed by the mountains. Ash which Curtis collected from this devastation is incorporated in the paint used to create several of the works on view.
Says Curtis, “In a way I could never have imagined, and which causes me considerable pain, my paintings are a small, real-time record of climate change and ecosystem loss. I know I will be working with these themes for a long time to come.”
In the painting American Cuck Q Clock (2022), Curtis looks at our culture of gun violence and aggressive, hyper-masculine pickup truck culture. She is interested in the boundary shift between pickup trucks used as weapons or as tools, employing trompe l'oeil conventions to heighten the fact that we live in a time when people do not believe their own eyes. Collapse (2022) and Sun Sets on the Shitkicker (2022) both depict decaying, collapsing billboards of outdated American archetypes. In Sun Sets on the Shitkicker, a dilapidated sign of a cowboy nosedives into the prairie at sunset. The horizon is dominated by the plume of a massive wildfire which rises from his smoking gun. The rugged individualist is fallen, eclipsed by the setting sun and the specter of climate disaster. In Collapse, the post war feminine ideal, portrayed as the Lichtenstein-esque comic book heroin, becomes the outdated signifier.
Margaret Curtis has been creating feminist-based work since the late 1980s. Her work has been included in shows at The Brooklyn Museum, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Huntington Beach Art Center, The Mint Museum and The Wexner Center. In addition to solo exhibitions throughout New York and the American South, her work was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Amelie A. Wallace Gallery at Stony Brook University in New York and was featured in Appalachia Now, a regional survey at the Asheville Art Museum. She is currently a Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellow.
Reviews and features of Curtis’ work have appeared in Art Forum, The New York Times, Art in America, Art News, Modern Painters, New Art Examiner, among others. Her work is in permanent public and private collections throughout the United States, including the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Asheville Art Museum. She lives and works in Tryon, NC.