Traveling Exhibition: Inka Essenhigh: A Fine Line

Inka Essenhigh. Fairy Procession, 2016. 78×80 inches Oil and enamel on panel.

Exhibition: Inka Essenhigh: A Fine Line
Organized by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
Contact:  Alison Byrne, alison@virginiamoca.org757-425-0000 ext. 322

Through her painting, Inka Essenhigh provides an authentic voice. Since her emergence into the art world during the late 1990’s, she has created a path for herself that consistently questions and redefines her relationship with her media. She has moved from using enamel paint to traditional oils and back; creating hybrids of the two. Her substrates have included paper, canvas, and panels. Throughout each phase of experimentation, she created dialogues with her work, navigating how the media and brush interact, sometimes with genuine surprise at the result.

It is through this approach that Essenhigh’s dazzling works are borne. Her signature use of line follows her experimentation, keeping them grounded and giving them continuity. Swirls of light lead us up to a heavenly night sky. A yellow beanstalk makes a frenzied climb to the sky, snagging a golden crown with blue jewel as it grows. Anthropomorphic condominiums break from their moorings. An old cemetery emerges from a hazy gloom.

Each scene is vastly different, yet they all clearly belong to Essenhigh. Her elegant line defines space, rejecting the straight and embracing the curvy, the organic. They are fantastic visions rooted in the quotidian. The narratives are born from her environs. Essenhigh spends time both in New York City and rural Maine. Both settings find their way into the artist’s consciousness, becoming manifest in allegory. Ghosts and gods, monsters and maenads edge their way onto her picture plane. They are the forces that shape her world. Each painting and print is a moment of distilled vision and the emotions that accompany them. The full expression of a 21st century human; hope, anxiety, and everything in between.

This exhibition will present approximately 30 works from the range of mediums that the artist has explored. She gained early renown through her use of enamels and a process that included the process of automatic drawing to find her subject matter. Her evolution led her back into traditional oils and experiments in printmaking.

Inka Essenhigh studied at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio (1991) and the School of Visual Arts in New York (1992-1994). The public collections that hold her work including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; P.S.1 Center for Contemporary Art/ MoMA, New York, NY; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Tate Gallery, London, England; Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, VA; the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, DC; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. The artist currently lives and works in New York City.

Availability: Three venues; 12-week presentation periods, directly following the Virginia MOCA presentation, March 16 – August 19, 2018

Preliminary Itineraries: September – December 2018, January – April, 2019, May – August, 2019.

Content Details:
1. Approximately 30 artworks.
2. All didactic and label copy, including gallery guide text, press releases etc.
3. A selection of images for publicity and educational purposes.
4. Educational Looking Guide, Adult and Teen Audio Tours, and Docent/Educator Guide.
5. Copies of Inka Essenhigh: A Fine Line catalogue. Includes interview with Inka Essenhigh by Ryan McGinness and essays by Heather Hakimzadeh, MOCA Curator and Matthew Weinstein, Artist and Writer.

Gallery Space: Approx. 2,500 square feet or 119 linear feet, subject to layout.

For more information about the exhibition please contact: Alison Byrne Director of Exhibitions 757-425-0000 x.322 |

Categories: Traveling Exhibitions