This Thursday evening, March 3rd, at 7 p.m., The Alumni Society of School of Visual Arts will present a talk by artist and 1994 MFA Fine Arts graduate Inka Essenhigh at the SVA Theatre. The event is the Alumni Society’s latest entry in its Distinguished Alumnus Lecture Series. (There’s also a VCS connection: Essenhigh was one of the artists included in last year’s exhibition “Between Picture and Viewer: The Image in Contemporary Painting,” which was curated by VCS department chair Tom Huhn and VCS faculty member Isabel Taube. You can read more about that exhibition at this blog post from last November.)
Here’s a description compiled from the SVA events page and the poster announcing the lecture:
Widely praised for her unique vision and color sense, painter Inka Essenhigh is influenced by the surrealists, the symbolists and comic book art to create mystical landscapes populated by hybrid creatures. In the preface to a recent Art in America interview with the artist, Noah Becker said, “Essenhigh is masterful at drawing us into her paintings under the notion that we are in familiar territory, from which her work then pushes the viewer to re-consider the effects of distorted figuration and abstraction on our powers of recognition.”
Born in Belfonte, Pennsylvania, Inka Essenhigh graduated in 1991 from the Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio. After completing her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, she had her first New York solo show in 1997. Essenhigh gained attention as a member of the heralded late ’90s generation of New York artists. Her paintings depicting cartoonish figures floating on monochromatic backgrounds helped to resurrect the public’s interest in figurative painting through their graphic narratives. Over the years evolutions in motion and color in her figures took place, and replacement of absent ground lines gave way to urban streetscapes and lush mystical landscapes. References and themes have ranged from the mythological to the biblical, art historical to political, spiritual to the mundane and earthly.
Inka’s work has been collected by public art collections such as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Denver Art Museum; PS1 Center for Contemporary Art/ MoMA, New York; Tate Gallery, London; Saatchi Gallery, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. She has had solo exhibitions at 303 Gallery, New York; Victoria Miro Gallery, London; and Mary Boone Gallery, New York. Inka is represented by 303 Gallery in New York and Victoria Miro Gallery in London. Inka currently lives and works in New York City with her husband Steve Mumford.
The SVA Theatre is located at 333 West 23rd Street in Manhattan, between 8th and 9th Avenues. The lecture is free and open to the public.