summer exhibitions at modernism
JEAN DESSIRIER: Mythologies, June 15– August 19, 2017
Modernism is pleased to present the first U.S. exhibition of Jean Dessirier, a French sculptor and painter whose raw materials are ancient myth and the old rooftops of Paris. Since the early 1980s, Dessirier has crafted polychromatic sculptures out of salvaged roofing zinc, evoking legends about sirens and fauns.
Trained as a glassmaker, Dessirier was employed by Versailles at the age of 20, working on the restoration of the Grand Trianon. Exposure to the palace’s spectacular painting collection inspired Dessirier to enroll in a Montparnasse drawing school and subsequently the Academy André Lhote as a student of painting and printmaking. Yet it was only after he began painting pictures of animals and people on pieces of wood –discarded by a friend who made furniture – that he found his true métier. “From a formal point of view, I realized that the painted sculpture simulated volume,” he says. “So a little unexpectedly, I developed a personal style.”
TONY HERNANDEZ: Requiem of Mind and Wonder, June 15–August 19, 2017
Tony Hernandez is haunted by photographs of children who perished in the Holocaust. He is also preoccupied with images of boys and girls who struggled through the Great Depression, especially in the ghettos of the Bronx where his grandparents lived. “Unlike adults, children are powerless,” he says. “They’re usually the ones to suffer the most from man’s supreme ability to be ignorant throughout history.” Imbued with a rich symbolism of his own creation, Hernandez’s paintings of preadolescent boys and girls grapple with this powerlessness, as well as the “mind of wonder” that sustains children even in the darkest hours.