On 4 May 2017, Mary Boone Gallery will open at its Fifth Avenue location Kindly Bent to Ease Us by LEIDY CHURCHMAN. The exhibition of new work is shown in collaboration with Janice Guy and is curated by Piper Marshall.
In a 1977 issue of the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Robert Thurman critiqued Kindly Bent to Ease Us, a translation of the renowned Nyingma master Longchenpa undertaken by German Buddhist scholar Herbert Guenther. Articulated as a review of the adaptation, Thurman argued that the translation eclipsed the meaning of the original text. “Unfortunately,” he began, “Guenther ruins the whole thing, shrouding the jewel of the original with his own intellectual obscurities so that we catch only an occasional glint of its brilliance.” Thurman then offered his own title, Relief of Weariness by Ultimate Mind, asserting that it was more faithful to the original ideas.
Reflecting on the contrast between these two titles claiming the same source, the exhibition considers the relationship between conceptual intelligibility and a Buddhist emphasis on direct perception – what is lost and what is found in the process of translation. In the paintings on view, Churchman selectively reiterates subject matter from fellow artists as well as images from printed matter and the web. Existing images are altered, replicated, and reframed. The artist also includes printed reproductions of artworks and a co-made painting to extend the notion of interdependent systems. In an effort to reconcile the metaphysical typically tethered to painting and the current discourse around appropriation, Churchman slows down the process of perception and calls attention to the cycling of imagery through different sites and registers. His new body of work dials up uncertainty around how we receive information, asking us not to simply trust suggestions, facts, and media but to retain ambivalence and curiosity. Rather than an articulated effort to provide answers, or an escape into distraction, the iterations in Kindly Bent to Ease Us serve as a catalyst, involving the viewer in a process of activation and skepticism.
Leidy Churchman’s work has been exhibited at venues such as Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Kunsthalle Bern, Bern; Highline, New York; Yale Union, Portland; Museum Brandhorst, Munich; The National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston; Human Resources, Los Angeles; Stroom Den Haag, The Hague; Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; and MoMA PS1, New York.
The exhibition, at 745 Fifth Avenue, is on view through 28 July 2017. For further information, please contact Ron Warren at the Gallery, or visit our website www.maryboonegallery.com.