Winter of Discontent

303 Gallery
555 W 21st Street
Appointments encouraged
New York
Feb 6th 2021 — Apr 1st 2021

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Presented by 303 Gallery, "Winter of Discontent" gathers the work of 21 artists with an eye to the highly topical theme of environmental, political, and economic unrest. The exhibition takes its title from the opening lines of Shakespeare's Richard III: "Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this sun of York." With this quote as its starting point, the show's variety of work (including painting, photography, sculpture, and installation) is inflected with a spirit of resilience—the glimmer of hope on the horizon.

Larry Johnson's Untitled (A Quiet Life) (1990) offers another soliloquy, this time in the form of a photograph. Its text—a reflective dedication to a twin—is presented on a scroll set against a snowy backdrop: a surreal imagining of a message. Meanwhile, Alicja Kwade's Unbestimmter Tausch (indefinite exchange) (2014) places two spindly branches side by side, each limb tilting toward and seemingly mirroring the other. But, as a closer look reveals, it is an imperfect doubling.

Similar themes of duality manifest in Mary Heilmann's Windansea (2020) [pictured]. The layering of foamy white paint over smooth teal gives shape to a shoreline— a border that only gains definition through the disparate elements of land and sea. The idea of differentiation being the force that drives existence is a theme that runs through "Winter of Discontent." It harkens back to the opening lines of the play, signaling the edge of hope during a moment of despair—while accounting for a period of transition, both seasonal and historic.

Mary Heilmann, Windansea, 2020. Acrylic on wood panel, 24 x 96 x 3 inches.