The slippery, boneless figures in Essenhigh’s hyper-sleek expressionistic paintings provoke comparisons with graphic novel illustrations, Japanamation, Persian miniature painting and the mordant expressionism of Weimar Germany artists Otto Dix, John Heartfield and George Grosz. Her smooth surfaces, dystopic world-view and flourescent-lit palette confront viewers with a nearly kinesthetic sensation: the visual equivalent of an oyster sliding down the throat.
Essenhigh’s recent monoprints and editioned etchings reference many different mythologies–from fairy-tales to Greek tragedies–as well as the spiritual side of nature. She uses these mythic settings as jumping-off points, letting go of the original meaning and capturing the narrative, which she then filters through her own internal dreamscape. Essenhigh makes the imagery hers while referencing the season in which the work was created.
Born in 1969, Inka Essenhigh lives and works in New York. Her most recent solo show, Large Paintings on Paper, was this spring at Pace Prints in New York; she has also exhibited at Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007); The Royal Academy of Art, London (2006); São Paulo Biennial (2004) and the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2003). She earned her BFA from CCAD in 1991, and her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1994.