Maureen Paley is pleased to present the seventh solo exhibition by Gillian Wearing at the gallery.
Gillian Wearing continues her exploration of identity, fiction, reality and the mask presenting a series of new works on paper, board, sculpture and film. Conceived over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibition focuses mainly on works made during the lockdown. Her new watercolour portraits have all been created in this time of self-reflection motivated by isolation.
“I was going to begin painting my portrait this year, before COVID-19 took grip of the world and the nation. What surprised me was how the lockdown allowed me to focus in an intense way on a medium I hadn’t used for 33 years. Having represented myself in photography both as myself and as others, I wanted to see how paint and even the manner of painting could change my appearance. These new portraits provide a record of my time spent in lockdown and are an exploration of my image depicted in isolated concentration.”
The mask has fascinated and preoccupied Gillian Wearing in her artistic practice and takes on an even greater significance in her sculpture Mask Masked, 2020, especially now when the proliferation of masks has reshaped our collective identity, day-to-day appearance and reality.
The exhibition will also present the latest iteration of Gillian Wearing’s ongoing video work Your Views, 2013 – present. The open submission project is comprised of short filmed sequences from contributors around the world showing their curtains or blinds opening to reveal a view from their window. The extended version shown in this exhibition brings together recent footage made during the global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. This for many has heightened or altered our relationships with the views we see daily on a newly prolonged basis.
Recent solo exhibitions include Gillian Wearing: Rock ‘n’ Roll 70, Central Gallery, Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University, Houston, Texas, 2019; Life: Gillian Wearing, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere: The Making of the Millicent Fawcett Statue for Parliament Square, Firstsite, Colchester, UK, 2018; Behind the mask, another mask: Gillian Wearing and Claude Cahun, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK, Family Stories, The National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen, 2017; Sandra and Gerald Fineberg Art Wall, ICA Boston, 2016; Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia, Spain 2015; A Real Birmingham Family, Centenary Square, Library of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, We Are Here, The New Art Gallery Walsall, Walsall, UK, 2014; Whitechapel Gallery, London, toured to K20, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Dusseldorf and Pinakothek der Moderne, Museum Brandhorst, Munich, 2012; A Real Birmingham Family, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 2011 and Confessions: Portraits, Vidéos, Musée Rodin, Paris, 2009.
Gillian Wearing was commissioned by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to create a statue of Suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, which was unveiled in April 2018. She won the Turner Prize in 1997 and was awarded a CBE in 2019 for her contribution to the arts. She was also recently commissioned by BBC Arena to create a documentary about the life of George Eliot’s legacy in Everything Is Connected – George Eliot’s Life.
Her forthcoming solo exhibition Gillian Wearing: Wearing Masks will be held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York marking the first retrospective of her work in North America.