EXTENDED: The exhibition has been extended to October 19, 2013

Winkleman Gallery is very pleased to present spinach and banana, the first New York solo exhibition of work by Estonian artist Merike Estna. Presented as a variation of an installation Estna recently had included at the Kumu Art Museum in Tallinn, Estonia, spinach and banana is a multimedia installation incorporating painting, sculpture, found objects, pedestals, and video.

Estna’s paintings have evolved from traditional ideas of picture-making, which were commonplace in the former Soviet Republic of her birth, into more contemporary approaches to abstraction, which she encountered upon entering London’s Goldsmiths College. More recently, however, she has become interested in incorporating performance and moving images into her installations as an approach toward painting within an expanded field, including recombining and remixing various art-making techniques. While each installation includes a lot of paintings, she hangs/places them against the walls, or against other painting or furniture, or on their side. There is no single point of view for the paintings or the installation as a whole, and her installations create a very fragile environment, where one must be very alert not to stumble into a video brush up against a painting. It is important for Estna as to leave the consideration of her paintings as open to the viewer as possible, to increase their awareness of how we look at art objects or other things in general.

Using a palette of pastel blues, yellows, and pinks which reference art’s decorative function, her abstractions are made by inscribing rhythmic grooves into the surface of the oil paint. When viewed at an angle, these grooves create a shimmering effect and give the works their structure. Estna here is underscoring the three-dimensionality of the painting itself. In her video works, Estna shows her canvases off of their stretchers, crumpled up in various landscapes (she has said that she takes them on ‘adventures’). Here, the artist humorously reverses painting’s usual role: rather than depicting a landscape, her paintings become part of the landscape. These small videos are actually projected on walls where paintings are usually seen, unlike the actual paintings in the exhibition.

Merike Estna was born in Estonia in 1980. She studied Performance Art at Academia Non Grata, and received her BA in Painting at the Estonian Academy of Art. She moved to London and in 2009 completed a Masters in Art Practice at Goldsmiths College. She has represented Estonia in the following group exhibitions: Prague biennale 3, Prague, Czech Republic; "Estonian Contemporary Art” Baltic States, Kalmar Art Museum, Sweden; “Consequences and Proposals” The Biennale of Young Artists, Tallinn, Estonia; “No Borders” organized by AICA International Association of Art Critics, exhibited in Belgium, Greece and Spain; “Space Oddity” Maison Folie Wazemmes, France, organized by Vilnius Contemporary Art Centre; “Boarder Country” Exhibition of Estonian Contemporary art in Guangzhou, China, organized by Tallinn Art Hall. She was included in “The best 100 (and beyond)” international artists selected for the Italian Flash Art magazine in December 2006, and awarded the Eduard Wiiralt Prize, Estonia, in 2005. She has twice been nominated for the Konrad Mäe Prize for the leading painting or exhibition in Estonia (in 2006 and 2010). Estna’s work has been purchased by KUMU Art Museum of Estonia, the Tartu Art Museum, Estonia, the Loviisa City Collection, Finland and private collections in Europe and Scandinavia. Estna will have a solo exhibition at the KUMU Art Museum in Tallinn, Estonia, opening June 2014. She is represented in Tallinn, Estonia, by Temnikova & Kasela Gallery.

Merike Estna

Merike Estna, "spinach banana," installation view. Photography by Etienne Frossard.

Merike Estna, “spinach banana,” installation view. Photography by Etienne Frossard.

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