Exhibition poster for:
Meredith Pence Wilson
12/11 → 01/08 2021
Simchowitz is pleased to present Meredith Pence Wilson: At Bat, the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery. Pence Wilson’s frontal canvases depict singular or small groupings of foregrounded figures from the chronicles of Americana. Most of her uniformed characters appear in full baseball regalia, mid-pitch or slamming into a home run. These tableaux recall baseball cards, with neat graphic borders and colorful frames, but each adorned with an additional enigmatic layer or painterly touch.
Pence Wilson has explained that she is more interested in baseball’s connection to history than in the actual sport itself—specifically its role as an American symbol that is more connected to the past than it is to the present. In other paintings, a horn player appears in marching band uniform, another signifier of American nostalgia. This character draws comparison between the true collaboration of a band and the collection of individual swings of a baseball team. Baseball is in decline, and exudes, for the artist, an aura of sentimentality. While baseball is a team sport, to be a baseball player is a solitary ambition. It’s unclear whether Pence Wilson aims to lift these figures up in her portraits, or to critique the systems that created this hagiographic sports culture.
Graphics, signs, and symbols from church and Medieval Christian iconography likewise populate full canvases. The artist is particularly drawn to the tetramorph, a Medieval Christian depiction of four figures from the bible that often crop up in her canvas’ corners. Sometimes these characters are Ezekiel’s vision of winged creatures that represent political entities, and in other depictions they are the four gospel writers. Raised religious, the artist took classes on early Christianity, anthropology, and theology. Pence Wilson paints the contrasts and the juxtapositions, presenting here a body of work each with its own complex, layered narrative.
At Bat opens Saturday, December 11th, 2021, with an opening reception from 10AM - 6PM, and will run through January 8th, 2022.
Meredith Pence Wilson was born and raised in Jefferson City, Missouri. She attended Pratt Institute and received a BFA in Illustration. She was a member of the crew at the City Museum in St. Louis from 2016 to 2018 and had her first solo show there at Grease 3 gallery. She returned to New York and received her MFA from Columbia University in 2021. She currently lives and works in New York City.