Roxy Paine

'Sedimentary Lens'

Throughout his decades-long career, Roxy Paine has investigated the tensions between human intention and the power of the natural world. The artist’s multifaceted practice includes large-scale, multimedia sculptures that examine complex systems, from the biological to the geological to the industrial. Through the expression of these interdependent systems, Paine’s work ultimately engages themes of time and decay, a crucial reminder of the hastening devastation of the earth at the hands of humanity and our own impending mortality.

Signature image for Roxy Paine exhibition
Roxy Paine, "Stratigraphic no. 1," 2021, wood, epoxy resin, thermoset polymer, lacquer, and oil paint, 36 x 60 1/2 x 6 12 in. Courtesy of the artist and Kasmin Gallery, New York.

Sedimentary Lens presents recently created, precisely executed relief paintings akin to stratigraphic bisections that meld divergent references on the same picture plane. Commingled manifestations, including fungi, oil drums, and the surface of the moon, slip between abstraction and representation. The exhibition also presents Paine’s pixel paintings, intricate constructions that accumulate thousands of tiny nubs of paint to depict the macro and the micro, from sweeping views of vast wilderness to fungal growths. 

A room within the gallery is dedicated to Paine’s dioramas, an important format in the artist’s oeuvre — meticulous windowed environments that mimic the format of natural history displays while complicating their function. Works like Meeting (2016), which positions viewers within an empty, mundane scene that manifests an eerie quality through forced perspective, explore human efforts for control and stability, while works like Access Panel (2021) illustrate humankind’s ultimate failures of control in the face of natural forces like death, decay, and entropy.

About the artist

Roxy Paine (b. 1966, New York) has presented numerous museum exhibitions worldwide including Roxy Paine: Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor at Beeler Gallery, Columbus College of Art & Design, Ohio; Natura Naturans at Villa Panza, Varese, Italy; and Roxy Paine: Scumaks and Dendroids at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Mo. In 2009, Paine presented the site-specific commission Maelstrom on the rooftop garden at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. His work has also been installed in prominent public venues in New York such as Madison Square Park and Central Park. Paine is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the Brooklyn Museum’s Asher B. Durand Award, and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum’s Emerging Artist Award. His work is held in the collections of prominent institutions including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Seattle Art Museum; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.

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Sedimentary Lens is curated by SCAD Museum of Art associate curator Ben Tollefson.

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