Holy Talk!

Opening Saturday, November 19, 6-9pm

November 19 – December 11, 2016

Karen Schiff
Untitled (Thicket)
Acrylic, latex, and flasche on birch panel
30 x 24 in

Karen Schiff
Untitled (Totems), 2016
Acrylic, latex, and flasche on birch panel
40 x 30 in

Karen Schiff
Holy Talk: Hillary Clinton, 11-9-162016
Graphite and charcoal on paper
13.5 x 22 in

Karen Schiff

Untitled (Whispers)

Graphite and charcoal on paper

26.5 x 22 in

Karen Schiff
Untitled (Stalacites)
Graphite and watercolor on paper
8 x 6.5 in

Press Release

Chesterfield Gallery is pleased to present Karen Schiff’s Holy Talk!, a performance-based research project about everyday “religious” language — including gallery events, a participatory drawing installation, and group dialogues (in person and online). Artist-theorist Schiff begins the show by performing diverse exclamations of the phrase, “Oh, my God!”; gallery visitors will write terms of “holy talk” — from phrases (“pray tell”) to coded vocabularies (“Yeesh!”) —on the gallery walls. Social practice becomes collaborative, because the work’s product depends on participants’ handwriting and linguistic memories. This graffiti, which Schiff and gallery visitors will modify at an erasing party, will manifest and reveal the ever-shifting atmosphere (“sound cloud”) of secularized religious language in which we live. This language exposes contiguities between the sacred and the sexual, the scatological, and the scrambled (“holy moly”), and it allows for an analytical examination of raw energies. Further examples of “holy talk” — and reflections on its use, plus information on all events related to this ongoing research — are being collected and explored at holytalk.tumblr.com. Holy Talk! is in equal parts skeptical and inquisitive, reverent and irreverent.

The gallery will host (!?) several public events during the exhibition, and a selection of Schiff’s drawings and paintings from her “Manuscripts” series (tracing the shapes of thoughts on writing) will be on view. 

To view a schedule of performance and drawing events, download the full-length press release PDF below.
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