White Columns

Gallery: Kate Manheim

White Columns is proud to present a solo exhibition by the New York-based artist Kate Manheim. Best known for her work as an actress and performer, Manheim began her career as an artist.  At a young age she studied painting at "Academie de Jedui" run by the Swiss artist Arno Stern, and participated in sketching sessions at the Academie de la Grand Chaumiere. Years later Manheim was a fixture in in New York and Paris’ avant-garde theater scenes, with lead roles in many productions by Richard Foreman, Jean Jourdheuil and Jean-Francois Peyret, and collaborating frequently with filmmaker Jack Smith. She left acting in 1987 to return to her career as an artist, enrolling at the Cooper Union in New York.
Manheim’s exhibition at White Columns features the complete cycle of more than 50 individual paintings produced in the mid 1990s made on found cardboard supports. Works from this series have been shown only once before at the Court House Gallery at Anthology Film Archives, New York in 1996.
Writing about Manheim’s art, Richard Foreman states:
“A major element of Kate Manheim’s striking work is the evocation and transcendence of the pain she has suffered from a neurological condition for the past 20 years. Anticipated in the pained screaming face emerging from a patterned field in a 1988 clairvoyant image, and then developed through the depiction of primitive bodies swollen and contorted with strange postures—this pain is given physical form as it explodes in various parts of the body, or flecking the body as a veil of descending tears in ectoplasm-like rivers—or seeming to burst from the body as a vortex finishing in giant floral forms.
In the accompanying series of abstract images, it is as if the nodal points of that bodily pain have projected from that body to fill the psychic space that floats above earthly cares, to establish a new territorial paradise seeded by the flickerings of pain made solid.
The pain that rises from the prison of the body takes on the characteristics of a beauty and energy that no longer implies affliction, but rather makes palpable a new and desirableworld of forms that either float through space or imprint upon a newly established earth, implies by the cardboard of paper toweling upon which they are imprinted.
Indeed, the fact that most of these pieces are indeed rendered on a surface of ‘discarded’ cardboard ‘trash’, flat or corrugated, or on the humble and ready to be ‘soiled’ paper toweling, re-inforced the impression that these images, scratched from a pulsating psyche encapsulating the very root of pain (a pain to which we are all, vulnerable of course,) –these strange and powerful images managing through an artistic slight-of-hand to redeem such ‘base’ material with the grace and revelation of exploding color, form and texture—an alchemy that lifts it’s trash surfaces into the realm of true spiritual accomplishment -- the real action of all genuine art.”
White Columns is grateful to Kate Manheim and Elka Krajewska for their enthusiastic collaboration on this project; we are also grateful to Richard Foreman for his insightful text concerning Kate’s practice.
In parallel to Kate’s exhibition we will present in our Project Space Dan Ochiva’s film ‘Jack & Kate’ featuring Jack Smith and Kate Manheim. The film was shot in 1982 and edited in 2005.
Kate Manheim previously had a solo exhibition curated by John Zorn at the Cue Foundation, New York in 2008; a solo exhibition at Anthology Film Archives’ Court House Gallery in 1996. Her work was included in ‘Looking Back: The Third White Columns Annual’ selected by curator Jay Sanders in 2008 at White Columns.
For more information contact: info@whitecolumns.org

Related Press

Kate Manheim - Art in America - June 2015

Kate Manheim - The New Yorker - June 2015