Conny Purtill

Conny Purtill
The Ground

Conny Purtill with Edgar Arceneaux, Taylor Davis, Jay Heikes, Nick Herman, Adam Horovitz,Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Pierre Leguillon, Josiah McElheny, Todd Norsten, Matthew Ritchie, Erin Shirreff and Ricky Swallow 

Opening 30 May, 6 – 9 pm

31 May – 20 July, 2024

This presentation is the seventh exhibition iteration of an ongoing project titled “The Ground,” the primary impulse of which is exchange. Purtill gives “grounds” (a support/surface on which to make a painting or drawing) to fellow artists as a gift. This has been the basis and ethos of Purtill’s artwork for the past two decades. He says of his project, “I make a ground with a specific person constantly in mind, which I then offer to them as a way to show I’ve dedicated time thinking about them. These are people I love. This is the purpose of the exchange.” More often than not, the person gifted the ground will choose to do something with it. And from time to time, exhibitions are composed with the resulting artworks, which the artists have chosen to return — or exchange — for the occasion. 

At Martina Simeti, “The Ground” is installed in three galleries and includes thirteen kites, one painting, three drawings, and a levitation. In the main gallery will be eleven kites. Purtill gifted grounds — in this case, sheets of paper excised from antique books and stained with green tea — to each of the participating artists. Their drawings (composed in many mediums) are hung upon Purtill’s intricate, handmade bamboo constructions. Together, the paper and bamboo construction form what Purtill calls a “kite.” Although these kites are not made to fly as a traditional kite might, they are suspended in defiance of gravity, and flutter with the slightest movement of air. The upper-level gallery will feature three drawings by Purtill. In the lower-level gallery, Purtill will hang a large painting by Jay Heikes on a makeshift theater in which a levitation will occur to open the show. The levitation is powered by a commissioned soundtrack by Adam Horovitz, and accompanied by two kites with drawings by Purtill.