Margaret Curtis

REVOLVE presents Auriferous - new work by Margaret from October 14 - November 13.  

"Recombinant Essay" - a Talk by Margaret Curtis

November 2, 7:30 - 9pm

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This provocative and timely exhibition of drawings by Margaret Curtis in the project space will open to the public Friday October 14th, with a reception for the artist on Saturday October 15 from 6pm - 8pm.  

REVOLVE will also host a talk with Margaret on November 2 from 7:30pm - 9pm.  She will read from an essay she has been working on recently and discuss the work on exhibit.  Tickets can be purchased for this event by clicking the "add to cart" button to the right.  Seating is limited so be sure to reserve in advance.

Please join us for what is sure to be both an interesting visual dialogue around process +politics and the insights culled from thinking deeply about the curious place we find ourselves in this charged moment in history.

For a downloadable PDF of the Auriferous checklist click HERE.

Three years ago, I picked up a book on Native American history and have been reading obsessively on the topic ever since. In 2015, I had the opportunity to visit the basement of the Carnegie Library in the 1880’s boomtown of Las Vegas, NM, where I was able to leaf through newspapers printed in 1879. Since then, I’ve been playing off of and exploring aspects of those newspapers— from their boosterism and sensationalism to layout and design—as a way to explore my feelings as a white American woman to the complex and suppressed history of our culture.

Initially, the work reflected feelings of sadness, shame, and regret—not only at our nation’s history but at my longstanding ignorance of it. Technique-wise, I mimicked the engravings of historical illustrations, maps, and newspapers though quill pens and frisket, hand-carved rubber stamps, and homemade feather pens. Histrionic verbal phrases and wordplay—“bending over backwards,” “at the end of my rope,”” burning bridges”— became visual metaphors. But not wanting to fall into the glib romanticization of the 19th century that characterizes so much of the hipster aesthetic, I decided to introduce elements of a more boisterous critique: to meet the absurd with absurdity and the obscene with the obscene. I created a feminist anti-hero, Anne Thraxe. She is complicit in the sweep of everyday white supremacist ideologies that built this nation—Calvinistic notions of God’s chosen people, American Exceptionalism, Manifest Destiny, and the brutality of early unfettered capitalism and its lust for gold, etc.—but is determined to disrupt it all as well. She is paradox. She is ribald. She is uncontainable.

The larger pieces are complex drawings built of digital prints of the earlier work, stamps and new drawing on top of that. I consider the processes involved to all be the same thing—drawing—just in different layers or stages. The process of visual accumulation is itself a metaphor for the heaps of my own mental detritus and emotional shards that made digesting the historical record in a holistic way impossible. They are meant to be uncomfortable pieces, but not shrill. I want people to take pleasure in viewing them and have fun getting lost in the imagery and associations. With any luck, the viewer might walk away unsettled and asking herself, “What was that?” I can pose questions but can’t offer any answers.

I also hope, as the election approaches, that we are reminded that hucksterism and snake oil salesmen have a long history in our country, as does the mindset of the settler-colonist who used religious nationalism, a love of gun violence, and the quest for capital as justifications for extreme racial violence.
— from Margaret's artist statement

About Margaret

Born in Hamilton, Bermuda, Margaret Curtis is a painter and visual artist. She has been creating feminist based work since the mid-1980’s. Ms. Curtis’ work was featured in Marcia Tucker’s 1994 “Bad Girls” exhibition at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in NYC. Other shows include “Another Side of Modernism” at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, NY, curated by Lilli Wei; “The Name of the Place,” curated by Laurie Simmons; numerous solo and group shows at P.P.O.W. gallery in NYC where she was represented for many years. Curtis has been included in shows at The Brooklyn Museum, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Huntington Beach Art Center, and The Wexner Center. In 2002, her work was the subject of a retrospective at the Amelie A. Wallace Gallery at Stony Brook University in NY. Recently she enjoyed a solo exhibition at The Hickory Museum in Hickory, NC, as well as solo exhibitions at The University of South Carolina, Columbia, and The Flood Gallery in Asheville, NC.

Critical reviews and features of Curtis’ work have appeared in Art Forum, The New York Times, Art in America, Art News, Art Issues, Modern Painters, Time Out, New Art Examiner, Interview, New York Magazine, among others. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Fine Art Museum, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC, and The Tang Museum, Sarasota Springs, N.Y. She is the recipient of the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship, Yale Summer School of Art, Norfolk, CT, and The Predmore Award from Duke University, Durham, NC, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She taught painting at The School of Visual Arts, NY, for several years, and has been on the boards of both The Flood Gallery in Asheville, NC, and The Upstairs Gallery in Tryon, NC, where she currently resides.