Artists Space

Renee Gladman

January 13 – March 18, 2023

“I began the day wanting to bring into convergence three activities of being—what I’d seen, what I’d read, and what I’d drawn—and to say about these acts how they made lines in the world that ran alongside other lines, and how all these lines together made environments of the earth, where I could put my body and you could put yours, and these would be lines always entwined because there was little if anything you could say or make without calling forth other lines, and this was how you knew you were where you were and the ground was worth cultivating and that there was life beneath the ground.”

—Renee Gladman

An abstract drawing consisting of horizontal white lines scratched across black paper with circles interspersed throughout the composition. On the right side of the drawing are arrows, and blurred, scribbled lines and illegible text. Yellow marks accentuate different parts of the composition.
Renee Gladman, Untitled (Moon Math), 2022. Pigment, oil, pastel, 30 x 44 inches. Courtesy of the Artist [An abstract drawing consisting of horizontal white lines scratched across black paper with circles interspersed throughout the composition. On the right side of the drawing are arrows, and blurred, scribbled lines and illegible text. Yellow marks accentuate different parts of the composition.]

Artists Space is pleased to present the first New York solo exhibition of the poet, novelist, and visual artist Renee Gladman. Beginning in 2006, Gladman’s extended cross-genre experimentation has compelled her to invent a unique hybrid drawing-writing practice that allows her to, feel through the syntactical preconditions for language. In mixed-media works on paper, she interpolates multiple diagrammatic systems—those emerging from architecture and city planning, planetary movements, data visualization, and mathematics—within an exploration of her own nervous system and bodily gestures.

Gladman’s drawings initially appeared in book form, with the printed page serving as a test site for her eventual efforts in recombining and intercalating prose, poetry, architecture, and drawing. The written word and language itself are simultaneously embellished and obliterated in series of formally particular works that have increased in complexity and scale as they have gained independence from their association with the printed page. As dense interior spaces of subjective unknowing, they move through a vast range of graphic and associative potentialities that assess the impact of Blackness, futurity, and erupting architectures on the topographies of the sentence.

For her exhibition at Artists Space, Gladman will present a selection of new and recent drawings made with pastel, gouache, acrylic, and white pigment on primarily black paper. Her sometimes collaborator, the critic Fred Moten, has referred to this initial surface as “the blackground: that nonrepresentational capacity that lets all representation take place.”

Renee Gladman (b. Atlanta, Georgia, 1971) is a writer and artist preoccupied with crossings, thresholds, and geographies as they play out at the intersection of poetry, prose, drawing, and architecture. Her work examines how drawing emerges from the body and how narrative takes shape below the semantic level. Gladman’s first solo exhibition, THE DREAM OF SENTENCES, took place at Wesleyan University in fall 2022. She is the author of three collections of drawing-writing—Prose Architectures (2017), One Long Black Sentence (2020), and Plans for Sentences (2022)—as well as many works of fiction, essay, and poetry, including Calamities (2016) and the Ravicka series (begun in 2010). Gladman has been awarded fellowships, artist grants, and residencies from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, the Foundation for Contemporary Art, the Lannan Foundation, and the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, and she is a 2021 Windham-Campbell Prize winner in fiction.

Support for Artists Space’s exhibitions and programs is provided by Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation, The Cowles Charitable Trust, The Cy Twombly Foundation, The Teiger Foundation, The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, Imperfect Family Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Willem de Kooning Foundation, The Fox Aarons Foundation, Herman Goldman Foundation, The Destina Foundation, The Luce Foundation, May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Arison Arts Foundation, The David Rockefeller Fund, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, The Jill and Peter Kraus Foundation, The Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation.