(GLASSBORO, NJ) -- Rowan University Art Gallery presents What’s Going On Here?, a solo exhibition of NY-based artist Jeanne Silverthorne’s cast rubber sculptures. Full of layered meanings that are at times conflicting and ambiguous, Silverthorne’s sculptures act as archeological excavation sites—unearthing the “vanished voices” of deceased artists, family, friends, and studio assistants that have traced through her studio. The exhibition runs now through January 8, 2022.
The natural forms depicted in her work, such as dandelions, sunflowers, and insects contrast the remains of the studio that are both metaphorically and literally frozen in a state of collapse and decay. As Silverthorne explains, “its debris, if enlarged and cast as sculpture, becomes biomorphic. Suddenly, a wasteland is teeming with microscopic life. If the walls of the dilapidated studio collapse, nature takes over—a nature oblivious of human concerns, with its own cycle of destruction and renewal.”
Embracing this notion of her studio as a metaphor for abandonment, collapse, and entropy, her sculptures nod to the absurdity of social constructs and the misguided perceptions of stability and constancy. Her rubber crates, workshop dollies, lamps, and light bulbs are imbued with cast rubber weeds, vines, and insects, becoming humorous, comedic versions of their authentic counterparts. Her sculptures act as palimpsests, unearthing lost artifacts and art forms while bringing to light what has been concealed or hidden in a state of deep storage. As we reflect on Silverthorne’s work created between 2009 and 2021, we examine how it resonates with our current state of social isolation and displacement. A catalog will accompany the exhibition, including a written essay by independent curator and critic, Saul Ostrow.
Jeanne Silverthorne is a sculptor who has been memorializing her studio in silicone rubber for over 35 years. As a woman entering the art world in the 80s, the idea of the studio felt compromised by the overwhelming presence of the “male genius”. By casting portions of her studio overrun with organic forms in rubber, Silverthorne captures the feelings of emptiness and entropy she has come to associate with the studio through her sculptures, installations, and select digital works.
Silverthorne came of age as an artist when women sculptors frequently used Eva Hesse as inspiration and this was true for Silverthorne as well. Another major influence was the early sculpture of Ree Morton. Her work also aligns with the “handmade ready-mades” of Robert Gober and the pop exaggerations of Richard Artschwager, among others. In its quiet and poignancy, however, it serves as a counterpoint to the severity of male formalists such as Serra, Judd, and Andre.
Silverthorne received a BA and an MA from Temple University. Her one-person exhibitions include The McKee Gallery, New York, PS1, New York, the ICA Philadelphia, Phillips Collection, Washington D.C, Whitney Museum, New York, and The Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, MA. In 2017, she was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work is included in many major museum collections, including MoMA, New York; MFA Houston, SFMOMA, CA, and the Whitney Museum in New York. Jeanne Silverthorne currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York and is represented by Marc Straus Gallery, NY, and Shoshana Wayne Gallery, LA.
Rowan University Art Gallery serves as a vibrant cultural destination for South Jersey, the Rowan community, and the surrounding region. Our mission is to provide a platform for discourse on best practices in contemporary art by professional artists, curators, and scholars through the presentation of interdisciplinary art exhibitions, panel discussions, guest curatorial projects, and other public programming. The gallery is located at 301 High St W in Glassboro, New Jersey. It is open Monday through Friday (10:00am - 5:00pm) and Saturday (11:00am - 5:00pm). All visitors must wear a mask and practice safe distancing.