Leidy Churchman: Kindly Bent To Ease Us

Mary Boone Gallery

745 Fifth Avenue, New York

May 4 - July 28, 2017

On 4 May 2017, Mary Boone Gallery will open at its Fifth Avenue location Kindly Bent to Ease Us by LEIDY CHURCHMAN. The exhibition of new work is shown in collaboration with Janice Guy and is curated by Piper Marshall.

In a 1977 issue of the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Robert Thurman critiqued Kindly Bent to Ease Us, a translation of the renowned Nyingma master Longhenpa undertaken by German Buddhist scholar Herbert Guenther. Articulated as a review of the adaptation, Thurman argued that the translation eclipsed the meaning of the original text. "Unfortunately," he began, "Guenther ruins the whole thing, shrouding the jewel of the original with his own intellectual obscurities so that we catch only an occasional glint of its brilliance." Thurman then offered his own title, Relief of Weariness by Ultimate Mind, asserting that it was more faithful to the original ideas.

Reflecting on the contrast between the two titles, the exhibition considers the relationship between conceptual intelligibility and a Buddhist emphasis on direct perception. Subject matter from fellow artists, as well as images from printed matter and the web, have been translated in the featured paintings. Churchman studies these existing images, copying, altering, and, in some cases, co-painting them in collaborative artworks. The artist also includes printed source material, framed or laid bare, to extend the notion of interdependence and tribute. This can be understood as an effort to work within the metaphysical, which is typically tethered to painting, and the current discourse around appropriation.

The new body of work dials up uncertainty around how we receive information, asking us not to simply trust suggestions, facts, and media but rather to retain ambivalence and curiosity. For Churchman, rather than an articulated effort to provide answers, or an escape into distraction, the iteration and collaboration in these works serve as a tool, inviting the viewer in.

Leidy Churchman is a painter who has been exhibited at venus such as Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Kunsthalle Bern, Bern; Highline, New York; Yale Union, Portland; Museum Brandhorst, Munich; The National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston; Human Resources, Los Angeles; Stroom Den Haag, The Hague; Museum of Art at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; and MoMA PS1, New York.