Martha Friedman: Brain in Hand
April 29-May 28, 2022
Jessica Silverman is pleased to announce Martha Friedman: Brain in Hand, the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, on view from April 29 to May 28. Continuing her highly technical investigation of embodiment, neurology and the multiplicity of form, the artist will debut a new series of ten cast rubber lightboxes inspired by drawings of the human brain by the late 19th century neuroanatomist, Santiago Ramón y Cajal.
The exhibition includes a performance of Tenterhooks with the artist’s longtime collaborator, choreographer and dancer Silas Riener, to be staged at the gallery on Friday, May 6 at 6:30PM and Saturday, May 7 at 12PM and 3PM.
In her series "A Natural Thickening of Thought," Friedman creates evocative rubber works—a material central to the artist’s practice–that mimic empirical representations of the brain and explore the materiality of the body from the inside out. While Cajal’s drawings sought to achieve scientific accuracy, Friedman abstracts cerebral circuitry into loose figurations of dendrites and somas imbuing them with vibrant pigments. The artist’s sculptural process is precise yet experimental; her cast rubber objects are three-dimensional wall works that suggest suspension. This gestural form of mark-making uses the microscopic to enact new material associations where the body is both subject and object at once, bearing witness to itself.
A key component of the exhibition will be an iteration of an ongoing collaboration between Friedman and Silas Riener. As part of their performance, one of the gallery’s walls will be transformed into a row of large, floor-to-ceiling rubber band sculptures that reference invisible organs, such as the cable-like axon that carries electrical impulses through the brain. In his performances, Riener will suspend himself and move through the rubber bands, converting his own body into material—temporarily interweaving the flesh of the performer and the rubber created by the artist into an animated sculptural fabric.
Martha Friedman (b. 1977, Detroit, MI) earned her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA from Yale University School of Art. She is a senior lecturer in the Visual Arts Program at Princeton University. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (2018); The Institute of Fine Arts Great Hall, New York (2016-2017); Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NY (2017); Locust Projects, Miami, FL (2015-2016), among others. She was the recipient of a 2017 Visiting Artist Fellowship at Urban Glass, Brooklyn, and the recipient of a 2016 and 2020 National Endowment for the Arts grant in collaboration with Susan Marshall & Company. In May 2022, Body Matters / Martha Friedman will open at Art@Bainbridge, Princeton University Art Museum. She lives and works in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.