Harper’s is pleased to announce the highly anticipated exhibition of recent work by Genieve Figgis, Yes Captain, the artist's first presentation of work in the United States.
Working at the intersection of abstraction and portraiture, Figgis unites an abiding interest in history with a penchant for the macabre. As critic David Rimanelli notes, “the figures populating Genieve Figgis’ paintings emanate from some luminescent netherworld, suspended between life and death, or living life and death or life through death in a land of the willingly lost, enchanted and menacing by turns.” Laden with both humor and gravity, Figgis's work is at once wrought with emotional intensity and haunted by taboo, enacted by ethereal caricatures of genteel society gone awry.
Incorporating sourced imagery of royalty from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Figgis engages in an ongoing dialogue with the court painter tradition, exploring the absurdity of history and power dynamics—subjects connected to her Irish heritage—with depictions of English aristocracy, grandiose architecture, and baroque fashion. By means of her distinctly anti-academic aesthetic, which features techniques that are, at turns, psychedelic and grotesque, Figgis's work exudes a sense of distrust in authority and dogma, relegating them to farce.
Indicative of current trends in distribution, Figgis’ induction into the New York art scene was largely through the Internet, where she first gained recognition in New York circles on Twitter and Instagram. Through her autonomous self-promotion and resoundingly positive public reception, Figgis has acquired a reputation as a rising talent in contemporary art whose unique style has garnered the attention of notable collectors and art enthusiasts worldwide. A native of Dublin, Ireland, Figgis has exhibited extensively since completing an MFA at the National College of Art and Design. During the past two years, she has contributed work to group shows at Flood Gallery in Dublin, Angell Gallery in Toronto, and Mall Galleries in London, and has been featured in solo shows at Transition Gallery in London, Talbot Gallery in Dublin, and Studio 9 in Wexford.
The exhibition coincides with the release of the artist's first book, Making Love with the Devil, published by Fulton Ryder, featuring an essay by David Rimanelli.