JENNIFER PACKER: THE EYE IS NOT SATISFIED WITH SEEING

New York-based painter Jennifer Packer’s “The Eye Is Not Satisfied with Seeing” exhibition opens on 5th December at Serpentine Galleries.

Combining observation, improvisation and memory Packer recalibrates art historical approaches to portraiture and still life, creating enduring genres in a fresh political and contemporary light. Packer’s intimate portraits of friends and family members and flower still paintings insist on the emotional and physical essence of their contemporary Black lives. Packer notes: My inclination to paint, especially from life, is a completely political one. We belong here. We deserve to be seen and acknowledged in real time. We deserve to be heard and to be imaged with shameless generosity and accuracy.

This survey exhibition, the artist’s first in a European institution, will include paintings and drawings from the past decade alongside new work created in her Bronx studio over the last twelve months.  A solo exhibition at the Renaissance Society, Chicago, in 2017 and her participation in the Whitney Biennial 2019 in New York, together with recent awards, have seen Packer become recognised as one of the most significant artists of her generation. Featuring 34 works dated from 2011 to 2020, the exhibition will present portraits of artists from Packer’s New York circle, monochromatic paintings, intimate interiors and flower stills including Say Her Name (2017), painted in response to the suspicious death of Sandra Bland, a Black American woman who is largely believed to have been murdered while in police custody in 2015. The exhibition will also include drawings which for Packer are rarely just a study but hold a weight of their own that differs from paintings. Through this survey of work the exhibition will draw out timely and necessary discussions on racial politics, representation and art history.

Featuring 34 works dated from 2011 to 2020, the exhibition will present portraits of artists from Packer’s New York circle, monochromatic paintings, intimate interiors and flower still lifes including Say Her Name (2017), painted in response to the suspicious death of Sandra Bland, a Black American woman who is largely believed to have been murdered while in police custody in 2015. The exhibition will also include drawings which for Packer are rarely just a study but hold a weight of their own that differs from paintings. Through this survey of work the exhibition will draw out timely and necessary discussions on racial politics, representation and art history.

Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, and Bettina Korek, Chief Executive, Serpentine Galleries said: Jennifer Packer’s paintings demonstrate great commitment from the artist and therefore demand slow, sustained attention from the viewer.  We have returned to her works many times over the last few years, and in planning this exhibition, they have resonated strongly with the pressing themes of our time yet continue to remain deeply personal. It feels important to share these remarkable paintings and drawings with our audience at the Serpentine this year.

The artist is also producing a new Serpentine Limited Edition etching. All proceeds directly support the Serpentine Galleries’ Exhibition, Architecture, Design, Education and Digital Programmes.   

The exhibition can be seeing free until the 14th March. Tickets required via Serpentine Galleries.           

Image: © Jennifer Packer, Tia, 2017
KPPR