Pilar Corrias is pleased to present across both its gallery spaces Conversation Galante, a group exhibition of new and recent works by Nina Chanel Abney, Ana Benaroya, Katherine Bradford, France-Lise McGurn, Sofia Mitsola, GaHee Park, Henning Strassburger, and Didier William.

Pilar Corrias is pleased to present a group exhibition of works by Nina Chanel Abney, Ana Benaroya, Katherine Bradford, France-Lise McGurn, Sofia Mitsola, GaHee Park, Henning Strassburger, and Didier William.

Running across both gallery spaces, Conversation Galante brings together a diverse group of painters whose works celebrate conversation, playfulness and intimacy. Collectively, their paintings conjure an imaginary forum distinct from the politics of the city or the court, where gender, identity and societal roles are unfixed.

At the gallery’s Conduit Street space, artworks come together to create an atmosphere of liberation and joy, tapping into a pastoral tradition that hearkens back to Theocritus via Shakespeare’s As You Like It (c. 1599) and Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (1863). In Sofia Mitsola’s new body of work, including Jalousie (2023), the artist envisions an island nation ruled by women, where freedom is the norm, and eros and wit jostle for dominance. Growing up enthralled by comic book superheroes, Ana Benaroya adapts elements of that aesthetic – loud colours and bulging limbs – to summon her own world where women run amuck, have a blast, and flaunt their pleasure-seeking. In her painting Last Scribble #4 (2023), Nina Chanel Abney depicts figures naked and exposed, perfectly at ease while enjoying a picnic. Also influenced by cartoons along with the shapely forms of the Baroque, Didier William’s Joy is Flight (2023) depicts genderless figures in a gravity-free zone, pulsating with an inner light. The vivid, ebullient colour of Henning Strassburger’s Big Sunbather Alphakenny (2023) animates the inner life of the painting’s Rückenfigur.

Free conversation continues to echo through the Savile Row space, but the mood here is more intimate. For many years GaHee Park has struck a balance between lewdness, humour and elegance; her painting Drowned Thought (2023) features a woman staring into the distance, her beatific countenance mirroring the moon that shimmers across the sea behind her. The night sky also features in Katherine Bradford’s Stars in the Sea (2023), where her bathers wade in ‘outer space … buoyant and very relaxed’, while in Ana Benaroya’s Queen of the Night (2023) a flame-haired woman rides dark blue waves against the backdrop of a lively cosmos. A group of smaller works by France-Lise McGurn, Mitsola, Strassburger, Park and Benaroya hang together to conjure an implied dialogue among a group of diverse characters. The presentation concludes with a kind of apotheosis in William’s Redemption, Resurrection (2023).

The exhibition takes its title from Nicolas Lancret’s 1719 painting, Conversation Galante, which depicts a group of figures in a garden playing music, canoodling, gazing into one another’s eyes. The setting suggests that the group have drifted away from an oppressive chateau and its règles du jeu, finding a patch of land that reflects Vladimir Nabokov’s notion of ‘aesthetic bliss’: ‘a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm.’ This exhibition looks to offer a similar space: an untamed garden where new relationships – among garrulous viewers, artists and paintings – might flourish.

About the artists

Nina Chanel Abney (b. 1982) lives and works in New York, NY. Recent exhibitions include SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2023); moCa Cleveland, OH (2023); ICA Miami, FL (2022); The Gordon Parks Foundation, Pleasantville, NY (2022); Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA (2022).

Ana Benaroya (b. 1986) lives and works in Jersey City, NJ. Recent exhibitions include The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC (2023); Kunstmuseum Schloss Derneburg, Germany (2022); Beth DeWoody’s Bunker Collection, Palm Beach, FL (2022); ICA Miami, FL (2022); and Green Family Art Foundation, Dallas, TX (2022).

Katherine Bradford (b. 1942) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Upcoming and recent exhibitions include Kunsthalle Graz, Austria (2024); Kunsthalle Emden, Germany (2024); Kunstmuseum Schloss Derneburg, Germany (2023); Portland Museum of Art, ME (2022); and Frye Museum, Seattle, WA (2023).

France-Lise McGurn (b. 1983) lives and works in London, UK. Recent exhibitions include Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, UK (2022); Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, UK (2022); Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, UK (2021); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, UK (2021); and Drawing Room, London, UK (2021).

Sofia Mitsola (b. 1992) lives and works in London, UK. Upcoming and recent exhibitions include Longlati Foundation, Shanghai, China (2024); CC Strombeek, Grimbergen, Belgium (2023); The Portland Collection Museum, Worksop, UK (2022); and The Harley Gallery, Nottingham, UK (2021).

GaHee Park (b. 1985) lives and works in Montreal, Canada. Recent exhibitions include Consortium Museum, Vosne-Romanée, France (2023); Milwaukee Art Museum, WI (2023); Pond Society, Shanghai, China (2023); and The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY (2021).

Henning Strassburger (b. 1983) lives and works in Berlin, Germany and Barjols, France. Recent exhibitions include Museum Giersch, Frankfurt, Germany (2022); /SAC, Bucharest, Romania (2022); Kunstraum Potsdam, Germany (2022); Miettinen Collection, Berlin (2020); and Kunsthal Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2020).

Didier William (b. 1983) lives and works in Philadelphia, PA. Upcoming and recent exhibitions include Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick, NJ (2024); ICA Boston, MA (2023); Frist Museum of Art, Nashville, TN (2023); Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL (2022); and MCA Chicago, IL (2022). 

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