Switch Back
20 February – 28 August, 2020


Jane South
Switch Back
02.20.20 - 08.28.20
Opening Thursday, February 20th, 6-8pm

Show on Artsy

Spencer Brownstone Gallery is pleased to announce Switch Back, Jane South’s sixth solo exhibition with the gallery. The show will feature a striking departure from past sculptural work with fresh creations that lie between the second and third dimensions; hard and soft, form and perceived function.

South’s new work delves into the formal in-between in new and sophisticated ways. Her characteristic architectural forms and pseudo-industrial material are condensed. The past emphasis on three-dimensionality, accentuated by boxes and cages, are flattened into grids and swaths of subtle tones. Her signature paper and balsa wood constructs are replaced by tectonic assemblages of softer materials -canvas, tarp, packing foam, and thread. Once tight and opaque, the application of color is now painterly and reductive.

To see South’s work is to see objects from multiple perspectives and dimensions. Cutter, featuring a quilting of painted canvas and other fibrous materials is clearly a wall piece, however, the implied flatness is betrayed by foam and tarlatan protrusions, drooping thread, and shadows cast by grills and punctures. The work literally and figuratively hovers between the flat and the spatial.

The line too is imbued with dimensionality through the use of thread, especially evident in expressive fringing. As a material it is impossible to separate it from the labor of its use. Drawing and binding become the same action.

Furthermore, compression of form introduces the possibility of depiction. South’s work exhibits a patchwork of ubiquitous architectural and functional forms like the grid, the wheel, and the arch -their combination reminiscent of large control panels or fictional machines. If the dragon and fleur-de-lis, familiar icons of shields and banners, were replaced by new fetishes of modern industry, one might imagine something like South’s work.

Artist Bio

Born in Manchester, England, Jane South worked in experimental theater before moving to the United States in 1989. She has a BFA in Theater from Central St. Martins, London, UK, and an MFA in Painting & Sculpture from UNC Greensboro.

Solo exhibitions include Shifting Structures: Survey (2019), Mills Gallery, Central College, Pella, IA; Raked (2014), Spencer Brownstone Gallery, NY; Floor/Ceiling (2013), Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, CT; Box (2011), Knoxville Museum of Art, TN and Shifting Structures: Stacks (2010), the New York Public Library, NY.
Selected group exhibitions include the Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts at the American Academy of Arts & Letters, NY, SLASH: Paper Under the Knife, Museum of Arts & Design (MAD), NY; Burgeoning Geometries: Constructed Abstractions, Whitney Museum of American Art, Altria; The Drawing Center, NY; Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA and the Baltimore Museum of Art, MD. Southʼs work has been reviewed in The New York Times, the LA Times, Artforum, Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, New York Magazine, Frieze, ArtNews, NY Arts Magazine, and The New Yorker. She is a contributor to the book “The Artist as Cultural Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life” (editor: Sharon Louden). Grants and residencies include Brown/RISD Mellon Foundation Fellowship (2015); Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant (2009); Dora Maar House, Menérbes, France (2010); Camargo Foundation, Cassis, France (2010); Pollock-Krasner Foundation (2001 & 2008); New York Foundation for the Arts (2007); Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, Italy (2008); MacDowell Colony, NH (2002 & 2004); Yaddo, NY (2001 & 2002). In 2018 South was elected to the National Academy of Design.

Jane South is currently Chair of Fine Arts at Pratt Institute.