White Room: Aliza NisenbaumNovember 8–December 20, 2014 320 West 13th Street White Room
White Columns is pleased to present a solo exhibition by the Mexican, New York-based artist Aliza Nisenbaum. Nisenbaum’s exhibition includes nine recent paintings. Writing about her recent process Nisenbaum has stated:
”Over the past three years, I have been painting portraits of undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America who have come to the U.S. for work. The dominant narrative surrounding undocumented immigrants is that they have no visibility in the public sphere, they hide, yet my encounters through painting them have taught me a different story. The families and individuals that sit for me live complex public lives. One of my sitters leads groups of women in zumba/dance therapy classes, another runs marathons — both are politically engaged members of their communities. One of the outcomes of the slow process of painting from observation is that I get to know these families through the hours we spend together. These paintings have brought them to my home and studio where we share meals and talk. Often they just relax and watch Mexican telenovelas while I paint. I discover in this process moments of privacy, interiority, and deep absorption for both my sitters and myself. Giving something or someone your attention can be a political act.
Many of the textiles and patterns I use I find in the homes of my subjects. I also import other patterns, often textiles from Chiapas, into the painting to create compositions around the sitters. I see these compositions as private places for dreaming, where figures become embraced by the spaces surrounding them. I made the work “News from nowhere” taking the title from the 19th c. polymath William Morris’ utopian novel and juxtaposed it with a hand-woven shirt from San Juan Chamula, a self-sufficient indigenous community in Chiapas, Mexico. My depiction considers how the space of painting can bring together disparate realities into new and affective formations.”
Aliza Nisenabum recently had a solo exhibition at Lulu, an independent project space in Mexico City founded and run by the artist Martin Soto Climent and the independent curator Chris Sharp. She studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA 2001, MFA 2005.) In 2013 she received a Rema Hort Mann Foundation award.