VIEW THE EXHIBIT
After Midnight in the Dynasty
EXHIBIT DATES: March 11 – April 16, 2017
OPENING: Saturday, March 11, 7 – 9PM
The Southern presents new drawings and paintings by Tonya Gregg in After Midnight in the Dynasty.
ARTFORUM: CRITICS PICK
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About the Artist
Tonya Gregg was born and raised in South Carolina. She moved to Baltimore to study at the Maryland Institute College of Art where she received a BFA in painting in 1997. She received a MFA in painting in 2000 from the University of Chicago and MA in Community Arts in 2007 from the Maryland Institute, College of Art as well. Gregg was the first full-time art student to be featured in New American Paintings and since then has exhibited in the U.S., Germany, Nicaragua, England and Canada. Her solo exhibitions include Gallery 1448 in Baltimore, Maryland, the Lawndale Art Center in Houston, Texas and Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. She has been an artist in residence at the Millay Colony in Austerlitz, New York, Red Gate in Beijing, China, the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada and the Wollmagazin in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Gregg often paints in series to explore paradoxical narratives about women, consumption, popular culture and ancient mythology.
I have always been fascinated with glamour magazines, comic books, traditional African American motifs and narrative historical paintings. These are the main sources of inspiration for my episodic paintings that comment on race, class, sexuality, and consumption. The personal and social narratives depict women navigating the shifting cultural influences and paradoxical worlds of contemporary life in their endeavor to embrace their own personhood. Broad themes that weave in and out of my work include women’s ideals of beauty and social perceptions of identity in public verses private spaces.
My canvases feature women dressed in carefully coordinated fashions lounging in alluring and iconic poses while presenting themselves in a manner that is hyper aware of the gaze of the world that is focused upon them. They are often surrounded by objects of desire that display their eclectic tastes and interests. These women are on a personal quest to find a balance in life between sensual pleasures and intellectual and spiritual pursuits. Wide-eyed cherub-like fairies with Afro hair float through the scenes seeking to capture the attention of the women and the viewer. They serve as celestial messengers, and at times, impish pests with omniscient view of the women’s situations as well as a pragmatic plan aimed at reinforcing the subject’s authenticity. The cherub’s wisdom suggests finding a version of the good life that can both integrate and transcend the material trappings. The colors, shapes, and patterns of these objects of desire unify the compositions while forwarding the narratives. – Tonya Gregg
Featured work: “Girls Doing Honorary Work,” by Tonya Gregg, 46 x 40 inches, acrylic on linen, $4500