We are pleased to present Summer Wheat: Gamekeepers, an exhibition of new works by the artist.
Since medieval times the gamekeeper’s responsibility has been to manage an area of
countryside, maintaining the land for the benefit of wildlife until the inevitable hunt.
Inspired by this archetype and employing her innovative painting technique, Summer
Wheat (b. 1977, Oklahoma City) has created a series of works that depict women from
different eras engaged in the act of hunting. Taking their visual cues from ancient
Greece, a number of Wheat’s paintings pay homage to goddesses like Athena and
Artemis. In the case of Stepping on Snakes, there is a decided nod to Madison Avenue,
as taloned, high-heeled shoes are seen digging into the flesh of writhing snakes.
In addition to her signature paintings, Wheat has created a series of tulipière sculptures
under the guidance of a 9th generation Sicilian ceramic artist using clay dug from the
region. Each vessel is painted with elaborate hunting scenes and crowned by a female
hunter fighting a different animal: snake, alligator, jaguar, or lion. Various mythologies
often personify these animals in relation to women. Snakes are a symbol of
transformation; alligators represent knowledge because of their lengthy time on earth;
jaguars are agile and aggressive predators; lions sleep with their eyes open. Popular in
seventeenth-century Europe as objects of luxury, tulipières served as ornate vases with
multiple spouts for growing tulips. A large standing tulipière was considered a status
symbol for its owner. For Wheat, this symbol of power is reconsidered as a marker of
Summer Wheat’s recent works arise from the progression of a years-long effort to
harness the form of paint as a three-dimensional object. Utilizing a radically original
technique of pushing acrylic paint through wire mesh, she creates rich, fiber-like
surfaces, which evoke historic forms of wall coverings such as woven tapestries or latch
hook rugs. These works and their materiality ultimately suggest a flattening of the
hierarchies between fine art and domestic arts and crafts, and evoke a feminist
sensibility by embracing the intuition of felt experience. Wheat lives and works in
Brooklyn, New York. In 2016, she was awarded the Artadia Prize at NADA New York,
and her work is included in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art. Recent
exhibitions include Inside the Garden at Smack Mellon (Brooklyn, 2018), Full Circle at
the University of Washington’s Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, 2017), and Noble Metal at
Braverman Gallery (Tel Aviv, 2017).
A concurrent presentation of the artist's work will also be made at the Frieze Art Fair in New York, Booth # C7, May 2 - 6, 2018.