March 29 - May 20, 2023

60 Lispenard Street

P: 212 925 4631

New York, NY

Elisabeth Kley: A Seat in the Boat of the Sun

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 Installation view of Elisabeth Kley A Seat in the Boat of the Sun

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Canada is pleased to present A Seat in the Boat of the Sun, Elisabeth Kley’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Kley explores and expands themes she is known for—geometric and plant motifs borrowed from a wide range of sources including Wiener Werkstätte designs from the last century and ancient Egyptian designs. The show features six sculptures, most of which are placed directly on the gallery floor. The sculptures are surrounded by black and white paintings on unstretched fabric and on the wall, immersing the viewer in a world of pattern. The refined and meticulously chosen array of designs creates an updated fin de siècle scene full of rakish possibilities.

Most of the ceramics in A Seat in the Boat of the Sun were produced while she was on a residency in Guadalajara, and the pre-Columbian and modern art and architecture of Mexico can be felt in the works. The forms of the hand-built ceramics are modular blocks, some with dynamic semi-circular curves. They fit together like a stone wall or bars of musical notation. The bluish black and white painted patterns are both stand alone designs, easy to appreciate on their own, or parts of a whole, echoing or contrasting adornment in other pieces. The interplay between the patterns is elaborated on throughout the show with dark and light trading places, endlessly swapping foreground or background, at times resembling optical puzzles.

Kley produces numerous preparatory drawings which she references as she glazes her fired clay surfaces. The size of kilns she uses determines the size of each piece and by placing them together they become greater than the sum of their parts. The hand painted quality of the ceramics and the wall works is direct and unfussy; Kley allows drips and the quavers of her hand to remain. The rhythm and drive of the pieces is bracing, and one can sense Kley's excitement while discovering designs that are both intimate and part of an environment, enveloping her audience with an epoch-spanning appetite for visual pleasure.

Kley has painted an abstracted staircase and a high wall with a sliver of dark sky as the propositional setting for the exhibition, 

which she has conceived as a sunken garden at night. The wall painting both frames the banners and places us in an exotic clime for reverie and contemplation. Kley offers us the pleasure of strolling through an environment of beautiful and strange objects, alone or with friends, as we detect the scent of flowers in the air and the rumble of a distant ocean, reminding us of adventures past or ones yet to happen.

Elisabeth Kley (b. 1956, New York, NY) has had solo and two-person exhibitions at The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha; The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Canada, New York; Parts and Labor, Beacon, NY; University of the Arts, Philadelphia; South Willard, Los Angeles; Pierre Marie Giraud, Brussels; Gordon Robichaux, and Regina Rex, among others.

Kley’s work is in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Her first solo museum exhibition, Minutes of Sand, at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, ran from March-August 2021 and is currently on view at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Omaha through April 2023. A catalog for Minutes of Sand will be published in April 2023.

Her exhibitions have been reviewed and featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Artforum, Art in America, Artnews, New York Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, and more. She has also written extensively for publications including Artforum, Parkett, Art in America, Artnews, Artnet Magazine, Art & Auction, Bomb, Ursula Magazine and PAJ (A Journal of Performance and Art). A monograph on her work with essays by Paul P. and Edward Leffingwell was published jointly by Canada and Pre-Echo press in 2019.

Special thanks to Cerámica Suro and Peter Lane Studio for graciously sharing their facilities.

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 Installation view of Elisabeth Kley A Seat in the Boat of the Sun

Flowers and Arches on Two Legs, 2022
Glazed earthenware
42 × 28 × 11 in.

Cleopatra's Apron Pattern2022
Acrylic and charcoal on canvas
99 × 115 in. 

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 Installation view of Elisabeth Kley A Seat in the Boat of the Sun

Chacmool with Ladders, 2022
Glazed earthenware
47 ½ × 59 × 11 ½ in.

Vessel Interrupted by Emptiness, 2023
Glazed earthenware
26 ½ × 14 × 10 ½  in.

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 Installation view of Elisabeth Kley A Seat in the Boat of the Sun

Idol, 2022
Glazed earthenware
43 ½ × 37 ¾ × 10 in.

Overlapping Discs, 2023
Acrylic and charcoal on canvas
81 ½ × 106 ½ in.

Snake, 2022
Glazed earthenware
26 × 52 × 10 ½ in.

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Elisabeth Kley's Brooklyn studio, Photo by Marquale Ashley, 2023

Incomplete Metamorphosis, 2023
Acrylic and charcoal on canvas
117 ½ × 142 in. 

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 Installation view of Elisabeth Kley A Seat in the Boat of the Sun

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Installation with Stairs, 2022
Ink and graphite on paper
22 ¾ × 27 ¾ × 1 ½ in. 

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Installation with Night Garden, 2022
Ink and graphite on paper
22 ¾ × 27 ¾ × 1 ½ in. 

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Installation with Triangles, 2022
Ink and graphite on paper
22 ¾ × 27 ¾ × 1 ½ in. 

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Installation with Black Triangles, 2022
Ink and graphite on paper
22 ¾ × 27 ¾ × 1 ½ in. 

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Installation with Low Arches, 2022
Ink and graphite on paper
22 ¾ × 27 ¾ × 1 ½ in.

Vessel with Curved Sides and Round Shapes, 2023
Glazed earthenware
23 ½ × 13 × 8 ½ in.

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Elisabeth Kley's Brooklyn studio, Photo by Marquale Ashley, 2023

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 Installation view of Elisabeth Kley A Seat in the Boat of the Sun

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Study for Snake, 2021
Ink and graphite on paper
15 ¾ × 21 ¾ × 1 ½ in.

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Drawing for Small Three Part Sculpture, 2021
Ink and graphite on paper
17 ½ × 20 ¾ × 1 ½ in. 

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Drawing for Four Part Sculpture with Tulip2021
Ink and graphite on paper
20 ½ × 17 ¾ × 1 ½  in. 

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Drawing for Five Part Sculpture with Arch, 2021
Ink and graphite on paper
17 ¾ × 20 ½ × 1 ½ in. 

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Study for Diamonds and Buds, 2021
Ink and graphite on paper
17 ¾ × 20 ½ × 1 ½ in. 

Owl Eyes on Strings, 2023
Acrylic and charcoal on canvas
82 ½ × 58 ½ in. 

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Elisabeth Kley's Brooklyn studio, Photo by Marquale Ashley, 2023

Designed by Joe Gilmore with an essay by Amelia Stein and an interview with Rachel Adams and Karen Patterson, Minutes of Sand catalogs Elisabeth Kley's recent exhibitions at The Fabric Workshop and Museum and The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. The book features works on paper, sculptures, and installation views from the exhibition. 

Pre-Order here.

Selected Works

ComeCloseJoan Snyder

NocturnesAnke Weyer

Arms and the SeaKatherine Bradford

Objet OuttaKen Resseger

Last LandscapesGerald Ferguson

Leroy's LuncheonAzikiwe Mohammed

Frisson CityLee Relvas

Reassembler 3Brian Belott

A Ball is for ThrowingElizabeth McIntosh

Ambient MusicMary Manning

TORSOAnnabeth Marks

BiscuitLyric Shen

Body ForthMatt Connors

A Cliff to ClimbRyan Preciado

Library of a DreamRobert Janitz

Gold GoldRJ Messineo

On ValentinesSpencer Lewis

Who is afraid of Natasha?Joanna Malinowska & CT Jasper

USMichael Mahalchick

TRANSFIGURATIONAurora Pellizzi

The Thick StreamGroup Exhibition

5 SeasonsJason Fox

Mother PaintingsKatherine Bradford

Ceramics and PrintsElisabeth Kley

Black Femme: Sovereign of WAP and the Virtual Realm curated by Christiana Ine-Kimba Boyle

#VayaConDiosKatherine Bernhardt

DrawingsJason Fox

Heart, HeartAnke Weyer

Tracing MemoryRachel Eulena Williams

Rayos De SombraRobert Janitz

GorpTyson Reeder

EREHWONSadie Laska