Jeff Conefry

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Marcia Wood Gallery is delighted to welcome Jeff Conefry for a return solo exhibition in Atlanta after receiving his MFA at Hunter College, NY in 2018. During his time at Hunter College Conefry exhibited in group shows and art fairs in Munich, Berlin, and New York. Also coming in 2018 he has exhibitions in New York and Istanbul among others.   

Jeff Conefry’s work examines how objects and actions create a physical narrative able to speak to ideas of both power and self. He attended The Rhode Island School of Design, and graduated with honors from the University of New York at Purchase receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting. He was awarded a Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including Bradbury Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art, Georgia, and Ethan Cohen Gallery. His work has been published in New American Paintings and has received several grants and awards. His work can be found in many private and public collections including The High Museum of Art. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. 

Jeff Conefry deconstructs and reassembles traditional painting materials to create sculptural objects inspired by the physical attributes of painting. It has been referred to as squishy minimalism, deliciously interzone, casualism, provisionalism, and as affirming the permanence of the postmodern condition of centerlessness. It is a tempting question to ask if these assemblages of traditional painting materials are sculpture or painting. The ambiguity is addressed by Jerry Cullum for ArtsATL his commentary that "This work is as contemporary as it gets when it comes to asserting that painting is alive and well in a new format. In fact, it may even share in William Faulkner’s famous assertion that not only is the past not dead, it isn’t even past. There is a great deal of historical continuity here in an utterly unexpected mode that is a simultaneous combination of history and the disruption of history.” Donna Mintz writing for ArtsATL in 2013 asserted that "They conjure an association with the recently named trends “provisionalism” and “casualism”, terms denoting a good-enough-for-now, unfinished tentativeness. But that association just takes us halfway to understanding his work. A seeming insouciance belies a time-intensive paint handling, as in “cast, stripe 2” where the artist mimics brushstrokes with thick layers of cast black and white paint which he describes as having been “created in one place and placed in a new context.” Rough linen, exposed tacks and drippy paint may say “haphazard”, but there is nothing casual about Conefry’s respect for the material and his exactitude of process.”

ARTIST STATEMENT
I make sculptural objects inspired by the physical attributes of painting. 

Currently, I’m interested in how objects and actions create a physical narrative able to speak to ideas of both power and self. Perception of what something is and how it might have been made, creates the fundamental structure guiding my creative process. The goal is to present a situation the viewer can engage and unpack in a way that can change the way they look at the everyday. 

I try to present things very simply and directly. I avoid pictorial elements in favor of simple forms able to express themselves more fundamentally. I usually create a wood structure that then has multiple layers of acrylic paint poured on in layers over several days. The completed object is then disrupted with a direct action such as cutting, drilling, or hinging. I leave this list of materials and actions in plain sight generating the physical narrative. 

My thoughts and actions tend to be presented as a series of contrasting elements. Related to something familiar yet curiously new. I use this emphasis on contrast and opposition to inject questions of power in the form of morality, sexuality, violence, or wrong and right. 

With power as a formative idea comes the self-evaluation common to the creative process. Questions raise more questions, sometimes within the work, but more commonly in my relation to the work. Hyper Self-awareness tends to expose imperfections. It is these imperfections and surrounding idiosyncrasies that I work against, but accept as part of the process. Perfection is boring on its own, it is the abundance of flaws that create a richer world experience. 
Jeff Conefry

Jeff Conefry’s work examines how objects and actions create a physical narrative able to speak to ideas of both power and self. He attended The Rhode Island School of Design, and graduated with honors from the University of New York at Purchase receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting. He was awarded a Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including Bradbury Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art, Georgia, and Ethan Cohen Gallery. His work has been published in New American Paintings and has received several grants and awards. His work can be found in many private and public collections including The High Museum of Art. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. 

-Jeff Comefry