TW Fine Art opens a solo show of multimedia drawings, textiles, and installations by Brian Kenny

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TW Fine Art opens a solo show of multimedia drawings, textiles, and installations by Brian Kenny
Installation view.

NEW YORK, NY.- TW Fine Art is presenting Brian Kenny’s multimedia exhibition, I’mmaterial, which features a variety of conceptual and abstract drawings, textiles, and installation pieces created over the last decade-and-a-half. Together, the autobiographical and improvisational works mark a progression in the prolific artist’s spirited exploration of queerness, sexuality, and American identity. This exhibition marks the first in TW Fine Art’s summer season of programming and events at the gallery’s Brooklyn outpost, located at 514 Atlantic Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11217. I’mmaterial will be on view through August 7, 2021.

The exhibition considers the porous border between a person or object’s physical presence and its intangible essence. The title announces “I’m material” while also reinforcing the critical immateriality that animates the self and gives meaning to objects. Kenny recontextualizes found objects, such as old sports jerseys, American flags, jock straps, medicine bottles, or pages of a book, imbuing them with new significance. For Kenny, what makes art powerful is not the material itself, but the narrative, emotions, and personal connection that it can carry.

I’mmaterial features the latest in Kenny’s American Flag series, including a flag constructed entirely out of transparent shower curtains. Another is completely covered in vantablack paint, creating a void only distinguishable as a flag when viewed up-close. The flags signal the artist’s ambivalence toward his identity as an American; growing up as a gay person on a military base, he is both attracted to and repelled by the symbols and status of American patriotism.

Also included in the show are drawings from the Secret Heroes series, in which Kenny layers rebellious and raunchy illustrations on top of children’s coloring book pages. Using markers, crayons, and stickers, the artist subverts the genre and gives himself complete permission to color literally and figuratively outside the lines. Similarly, in Sacred Profanities, drawings overlay pages from a book showing Michelangelo's art, bringing the work into the present and inserting Kenny’s contrarian presence into the iconic scenes.

This exhibition presents a softer side of Kenny’s art; over time his work has evolved to embrace a more feminine aesthetic, subtler messages, and physically softer materials. I’mmaterial provides a rich cross-section of Kenny’s conceptual artwork, inspiring viewers to reconsider everyday objects as vessels for new and unexpected meaning.

Brian Kenny (born 1982, Heidelberg, Germany) is a New York-based multidisciplinary artist whose work has been exhibited throughout the US, Canada, Russia, Israel, and Europe. Using mediums spanning drawing, painting, textile, video, and performance, his experimental and expressionistic artwork often engages themes around queer identity, urban living, and shifting societal perceptions of gender, sexuality, and politics. In addition to his fine art practice, Brian Kenny has completed commissions and collaborations with internationally recognized brands including Onitsuka Tiger (Japan), Christian Lacroix (Paris), The Highline Park (NYC), M3 Hotels (Geneva), and more.

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