He who sentimentally sings of blessed childhood is thinking of the return to nature and innocence and the origin of things, and has quite forgotten that these blessed children are beset with conflict and complexities and capable of all suffering.
-Herman Hesse, Steppenwolf
Sargent's Daughters is pleased to present Scamp, a solo show of new paintings by Brooklyn-based painter Jemima Kirke.
In Scamp Kirke paints children in vintage costumes she collected over a period of years. Though costumed and combed, the children are not acting a part or hiding. They fully inhabit their own worlds, accommodating the costumes as a second skin that rests atop them without transforming them.
Kirke’s depiction of children allows for the mystery of the child to remain intact, whatever the setting. They appear alone or with siblings, both in richly decorated interiors and suspended in a nebulous backgrounds. Kirke’s interest in painting the children in costumes is born both from her own background as a performer and from her experience as a mother. The artificiality of the beautiful costumes contrasts with the unabashed personalities of the children, highlighting the inability of the children to arm themselves with the clothes as an adult would, and accentuating their vitality. They gaze directly at the viewer, engaging and unafraid, private and entirely themselves.
Jemima Kirke (b. 1985, London, U.K.) received her B.F.A from Rhode Island School of Design in 2008 and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Kirke’s work has appeared in publications including PAPER Magazine, i-D, W Magazine, GARAGE, Harper’s Bazaar, les inRocKuptibles (France), and HEAPS (Japan), Artnet, Artinfo and VOGUE. This is her second solo exhibition at Sargent’s Daughters.