The work of Zoë Sheehan Saldaña tends to hide in plain sight. “Strike Anywhere” matches, life jackets, terrycloth towels and straight pins: these are just a few of the artist’s elaborate handmade undertakings, which convincingly masquerade as their industrially produced counterparts. For her exhibition at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the artist’s largest to date, Sheehan will present a selection of her meticulously produced objects and furnishings, which call attention to self-reliance, labor systems, and the utopia/dystopia paradox. Zoë Sheehan Saldaña: There Must Be Some Way Out of Here will be on view at The Aldrich November 24, 2019, to May 17, 2020.
The exhibition is an extended meditation on the anxious, sometimes hysterical tenor of contemporary life. Sheehan has taught herself, or collaborated with experts, to produce objects through myriad techniques, going to great lengths to create the most persuasive results possible. Theoretically, her works could be used in a state of emergency, and Sheehan proves that it is indeed possible to produce these items oneself. This self-reliance, however, is complicated by her mordant emphasis on futility: commodities, in fact, offer no “way out” from our culture of fear.
For her presentation at The Aldrich, Sheehan has refused the usual support that a museum offers. Shipping, gallery prep, and installation will all be completed by the artist herself. The wall labels and gallery wall text will be printed using her own custom-made ink. In a Tom Sawyer-ish twist, she has even convinced the Museum’s trustees to help her paint the gallery walls using her homemade milk paint.
Zoë Sheehan Saldaña (b. 1973) currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She holds an MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY; a BA from Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, and also studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME. Solo exhibitions include: Promised Land, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA (2015); TBD, Tahoe Gallery, Sierra Nevada College, Incline Valley, NV (2012); Ersatz, Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA (2009); Caution, Southwest School of Art and Craft, San Antonio, TX (2008); Zoë Sheehan Saldaña, Choate Gallery, Pace University, Pleasantville, NY (2006); Zoë Sheehan Saldaña, Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT (2005); Meanwhile, Light Work, Syracuse, NY (2005); and (Jello)3, Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, Niagara Falls, NY. She has completed residencies at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY (2015); the LeWitt/Doran Residency Program, Praiano and Spoleto, Italy (2012); and the Marshfield School of Weaving, Marshfield, VT (2012); among others.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue, the artist’s first, which will include an essay by the exhibition’s curator, Glenn Adamson. The catalogue’s cover will be printed with ink handmade by Sheehan.
Organized by Glenn Adamson, indepedent curator and Senior Scholar at the Yale Center for British Art.
*A shuttle will be running from Manhattan to the Museum on Sunday, November 24. For more information, visit www.aldrichart.org/visit or contact Emily Devoe at [email protected]