Among Friends and Enemies
OCTOBER–NOVEMBER 2010Mixed Greens is thrilled to announce Mary Temple’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. For almost a decade, Temple has explored the fine line between truth and doubt—deciphering what is real and what is illusion. For Among Friends and Enemies, she focuses on current world events, with the objective of parsing fact from spin and fiction.
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On September 24, 2007, Temple made the first drawing in her ongoing Currency series. After reading an online news story concerning Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s controversial visit to Columbia University, Temple was compelled to draw his portrait. Every day since, she has chosen an event related to a world leader from Internet news sites and hand-drawn the world leader’s likeness along with an accompanying caption and date. She positions the portrait on the page according to her subjective feelings about the event. How high or how low the portrait is placed indicates how optimistic Temple is about the news. The more promising she perceives the future to be, the higher the portrait appears. Currency both chronicles her outlook over time and, more universally, becomes a way to make sense of overwhelming, and often conflicting, media headlines.
Due to the temporal nature of the work, the exhibition will change daily. Each evening, an online story will be chosen and rendered by the artist. Then, in the morning, Temple will scan the ink drawing and send it to the gallery digitally, returning the image to its original source. Finally, a member of the gallery staff will print the drawing and hang it on the gallery wall, thus adding to the exhibition and the cacophony of news. Hung in a line or as an oversized wall calendar, the piece’s relationship to minimalism and even to musical notation becomes apparent.
Because Temple’s Currency project not only references current events, but also the ideas of value and power (her portraits are drawn much like the portraits on bank notes), Temple’s Screen Tests are a logical pairing to the series. In this work, Temple has printed hand-drawn Barack Obama portraits on a series of 100 $5 bills. Next to Lincoln, Obama appears to be auditioning for a position of lasting historical significance, much like the people in Warhol’s original Screen Tests.
Finally, Temple will display a sculpture and wall painting. The sculpture, The Space Between, pares down the narrative of Brooke Astor and her only son, Anthony Marshall. For Currency, Temple redraws the images taken by photojournalists, and here she redraws the forged, shaky signature of Brooke Astor. Through repetition and drawing, Temple tries to make sense of news stories that involve friends, enemies, and the often invisible line between the two. In the wall text painting that appears to be light raking the wall, she affirms the shadowy place where everything in the show lies—the space between knowing and not knowing.
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