Gallery  September 19, 2018  Megan D Robinson

Petah Coyne's Baroque Installations at Galerie Lelong

© Petah Coyne, Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

Petah Coyne, Untitled #1388 (The Unconsoled), 2013-14. Specially-formulated wax, pigment, silk flowers, taxidermy, paint, thread, wire, floral tape, steel, metal hardware, maple, birch plywood, aluminum.

Petah Coyne’s first New York solo exhibition in nearly a decade, Having Gone I Will Return is now at Galerie Lelong & Co, showcasing new and recent work: the gorgeous baroque installations she is known for. Coyne’s sumptuous, multilayered sculptures, meticulously constructed of fabric, cast statuary, wax, scrap metal, taxidermy and other unorthodox materials, have a deep emotional resonance. Her pieces reference literature, film and art history, with a particular emphasis on Japanese authors. The exhibition title, Having Gone I Will Return, refers to two Japanese terms for saying goodbye, taken from Richard Lloyd Parry’s Ghosts of the Tsunami. 

© Petah Coyne, Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

Petah Coyne, Untitled #1379 (The Doctor's Wife), 1997–2018. Specially-formulated wax, pigment, silk flowers, silk/rayon velvet, tassels, Cast-wax statuary figures, human hair, black pearl-headed hat pins, wire, thread, felt, cotton batting, chicken-wire fencing, wood, masonite, steel, acrylic paint, nails, bolts, screws, washers, wing nuts, latches, 3/8" Grade 30 proof coil chain, cable, cable nuts, shackles, Velcro, plastic.

The exhibition includes a special viewing platform, allowing visitors to look down on the exhibition centerpiece, Untitled #1379 (The Doctor’s Wife) (1997–2018). Inspired by renowned writer Sawako Ariyoshi’s novel, The Doctor’s Wife, this expansive sculptural landscape, created with hand sewn Venetian velvet, silk flowers dipped in wax, humanistic forms cloaked with fabric, and hanging sculpture, resembling both chandeliers and large pomanders, evokes a fantastical world of tension and magic. Another piece, Untitled #1388 (The Unconsoled) (2013–14), features a simple white panelled gate, its interior adorned with climbing roses and white birds. The macabre beauty of the suspended flowers and fowls conveys the mysterious, dreamlike uncertainty shared by Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled, Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and Kōbō Abe’s The Woman in the Dunes. This poignant exhibition combines the luscious with the grotesque, provoking thoughtful contemplation.

Petah Coyne, Untitled #1375 (No Reason Except Love: Portrait of a Marriage), 2011-12
© Petah Coyne, Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

Petah Coyne, Untitled #1375 (No Reason Except Love: Portrait of a Marriage), 2011-12. Specially-formulated wax, pigment, silk flowers, taxidermy, chandelier, candles, ribbons, black sand from pig iron casting, resin, paint, black pearl-headed hatpins, chicken-wire fencing, wire, cable, cable nuts, quick-link shackles, jaw-to-jaw swivel, silk/rayon velvet, 3/8" Grade 30 proof coil chain, Velcro, thread, plastic.

Petah Coyne, Untitled #1408 (The Lost Landscape), 2015-18
© Petah Coyne, Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

Petah Coyne, Untitled #1408 (The Lost Landscape), 2015-18. Specially-formulated wax, pigment, silk flowers, waxed taxidermy, tree branches, chandelier, synthetic feathers, paint, black pearl-headed hat pins, tape, chicken-wire fencing, wire, steel, weights, cable, cable nuts, cable crimps, quick-link shackles, jaw-to-jaw swivel, silk/rayon velvet, 3/8" Grade 30 proof coil chain, Velcro, thread, plastic.

Petah Coyne, Untitled #1242 (Black Snowflake), 2007-2012
© Petah Coyne, Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

Petah Coyne, Untitled #1242 (Black Snowflake), 2007-2012. Specially-formulated wax, pigment, taxidermy, candles, tassels, ribbons, hand-blown glass bulbs, chicken-wire fencing, wire, steel, cable, cable nuts, sash weight, quick-link shackles, jaw-to-jaw swivel, silk/rayon velvet, 3/8” Grade 30 proof coil chain, Velcro, thread, plastic.

Petah Coyne, Untitled #1410 (Mishima's Spring Snow), 2015-16
© Petah Coyne, Courtesy Galerie Lelong & Co., New York

Petah Coyne, Untitled #1410 (Mishima's Spring Snow), 2015-16. Specially-formulated wax, pigment, ribbons, candles, chicken-wire fencing, wire, cable, cable nuts, thimbles, glue, steel, quick-link shackles, jaw-to-jaw swivel, silk Duchesse satin, 3/8" Grade 30 proof coil chain, Velcro, thread, paper towels, plastic.

Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 1953, Coyne lives and works in New Jersey and New York City. She has had over 30 solo museum exhibitions, and has work in numerous permanent museum collections.

Petah Coyne's Having Gone I Will Return runs through October 27 at Galerie Lelong & Co, New York.

About the Author

Megan D Robinson

Megan D Robinson writes for Art & Object and the Iowa Source.