The eyes have walls: in Rome, the first Italian exhibition of the young Jay Miriam

The first solo exhibition in Italy of Jay Miriam, a young U.S. artist who questions our gaze by forcing us to imagine, is on view until March 25 at the Richter Gallery in Rome.

Richter Gallery in Rome presents the first solo exhibition of American artist Jay Miriam (New York, 1990) in Italy. After the 2020 bi-personal exhibition with Katerina Janeckova and the recently concluded group show Between my flesh and world’s fingers, the American artist returns to Rome, to inhabit the spaces of Richter Gallery with These eyes have walls accompanied by a critical text by Giuseppe Armogida. In this new series of works, painted in oil on a large scale, Jay Miriam questions our “walled” gaze, forcing us to imagine-for each of the female figures portrayed-objects, situations, characters, environments, relationships and rules, which precede or, in any case, remain external to the work.

Miriam has always examined what lies in the ordinary, fascinated by the seemingly intimate and silent moments of life: we are born in a body, in a time, in a place, but when we close our eyes, how do we see ourselves? Miriam’s contemplative practice involves “painting from memory,” or imagining new worlds from scratch, and through creating bold marks and loose brushstrokes, the artist creates stories entirely her own, often taking months or even a year to complete. Born in 1990 and known for her portraits of female nudes, Miriam’s subjects exude a playful sense of mystery. There are often movements in her paintings that would be physically impossible in the real world, whether it is an outstretched arm or, in other cases, the position of the legs, yet in the composition the artist plays with eye movement to convince the viewer that these moments look authentic. The viewer’s perception is as important to the entire painting as the painting itself.

Born in New York City (1990) and raised in Brooklyn, Jay Miriam holds a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and an MFA from the New York Academy of Art. The artist has solo exhibitions scheduled by Galleria Richter(Rome, 2022) and Gruin Gallery(Los Angeles, 2022). Previous major solo exhibitions include: Fantasies in a Waking State(Ornis A. Gallery, 2017, Amsterdam); Catch the Heavenly Bodies(Half Gallery, 2016, New York, NY); Blue Paintings of Women (Ornis A. Gallery, 2014, Amsterdam), and JM(Cudowne Lata, 2011, Krakow, Poland). Moments of self. This is how Jay Miriam defines the works presented in this new exhibition at Richter Gallery. Moments of self, moments with self, moments in which the portrayed female figures can get to know themselves. Moments in which they can “see themselves,” can penetrate into themselves, in search of who they truly are. Moments in which their own daímon-the authentic Self, that which they guard inwardly-is revealed to them and they can enjoy its spectacle. And is this not intoxication?

But how can they bare their hearts and know themselves, without detaching themselves from all that confusingly reflects them, without disentangling themselves from appearances, from prejudices, without resolutely taking the path of “solitude,” of “intimacy”? “There is no greater thing in the world,” wrote Montaigne, " than to know how to be for oneself, to reserve for oneself a backroom of our own, entirely independent, in which to establish our true freedom, our principal retreat and solitude. There we must habitually detain ourselves with ourselves; there we must discuss and laugh as if we were without anyone else."

“There, then,” writes curator Armogida, “each of Miriam’s paintings seems to exceed its limits and to refer back to a kind of ’out of sight.’ Each ’framing’ is not static, but grows within it, projecting its lines of flight outward, toward an ’outside’ that is situated beyond the boundaries of the painting. That is, it seems that the action depicted extends into a larger space with which it communicates. A space that is heterogeneous from that of the painting, an empty, negative space that cannot be seen, but is present, ’insists’ and is perceived. An Elsewhere, an outside of the picture, which, while discarded from the picture’s zone of visibility, grounds it and makes it possible. And it seems to me that this dialectic between ’field’ and ’outside’ characterizes this entire series of works in the exhibition. Jay Miriam questions our ’walled’ gaze -- which desperately seeks to connote, safeguard, protect, contain, and restore what is familiar to us -- by forcing us to imagine -- for each of the female figures portrayed -- objects, situations, characters, environments, relationships, and rules, which precede or, in any case, remain external to the work. For example, the kind of work these women do on a daily basis, from which they may not be able to free themselves, but which certainly can never say anything about who they really are. Or, in general, the roles they play in society from which it is impossible to escape. Just as it is impossible to escape the inescapable connection that each of them has with their past and their origins. Jay Miriam, in these works, offers no sure answers. These eyes have walls is, therefore, an exhibition built on an inclusive-conflicting ambivalence, on the continuous bounce between inner and outer space, interiority and social recognition, biographical depth of characters and role trap, everyday reality and estrangement from it. An ambiguity that prevents everything from falling back into place and forces us to sharpen our gaze. Always, again.”

For all information, you can visit Richter Fine Art’s official website.

The eyes have walls: in Rome, the first Italian exhibition of the young Jay Miriam
The eyes have walls: in Rome, the first Italian exhibition of the young Jay Miriam

Warning: the translation into English of the original Italian article was created using automatic tools. We undertake to review all articles, but we do not guarantee the total absence of inaccuracies in the translation due to the program. You can find the original by clicking on the ITA button. If you find any mistake,please contact us.