Collision, 2021 acrylic on aluminum mesh 68 x 94 inches / 172.7 x 238.8 cm
Cut and Paste
Summer Wheat’s Cut and Paste features a series of new paintings that represent the culmination of the last five years of the artist’s practice. Each work is a mini-retrospective of sorts, as Wheat brings together disparate subjects, palettes, and formal qualities from her Beekeepers, Hunters, Gardeners, and Moneymaker series. Elements from these previous bodies of work are metaphorically ״cut and pasted״ to create new, densely layered compositions that visualize Wheat’s decades-long investigation into the historical documentation of women’s labor―and its absence.
Wheat’s narratives bear no specific time markers for the depicted events, but rather embody untold stories, revealing the whole truth behind the contribution of women across every aspect of society. Collision, the centerpiece of the exhibition, portrays female hunters, gardeners, and money makers (represented through currency) at varying scales, densely packed within the picture plane. Here, Wheat subverts the traditional portrayal of women as objects of desire and beauty and offers a more complex representation of femininity. Her subjects are depicted as breadwinners and caretakers who carry a heavy load for their communities while also enjoying the earthly pleasures of their lives.
The works featured in Cut and Paste originated as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the time it offered for self-reflection. Looking back at her own practice, Wheat was inspired to create paintings that visualized the connective thread that runs through each serie— women, their buried stories, and the artist’s unrestrained utilization of color, line, and form. Drawing from a variety of art historical references, including Egyptian pictography, Native American art, medieval art, and 18th- and 19th-century paintings and etchings, this series is both contemporary and historical. Cut and Paste is, in essence, a compilation of all of the roles women play in Wheat’s vast universe. By bringing them together, the artist unifies these women into a powerful network, working together within a single narrative world.
Summer Wheat B. 1977, Oklahoma City. Lives and works in New York. Summer Wheat’s paintings and sculptural forms are characterized by expressive structure and color that challenge the limits of material and process. She centers her subject matter upon the figure and narrative, and utilizes an innovative painting technique — pushing acrylic paint through wire mesh — to create rich, fiber-like surfaces. Solo exhibitions include the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (Kansas City 2020), KMAC Museum (Louisville 2019) Shulamit Nazarian (Los Angeles 2018), Smack Mellon (New York 2018), Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington (Seattle 2017), and Oklahoma Contemporary (Oklahoma City 2016). Additional exhibitions include Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston 2013—14), deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park (2013), and Torrance Art Museum (2013). Wheat's work is found in the private and public collections of the Dallas Museum of Art, de Young Museum, San Francisco, Peréz Art Museum Miami, The Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington, The Mint Museum, and the Speed Art Museum. Wheat received the 2016 New York NADA Artadia Award and the 2019 Northern Trust Purchase Prize at EXPO Chicago. Wheat holds a BA from the University of Central Oklahoma and an MFA from Savannah College of Art and Design.