Beyond the Pale

Organized by Sam McKinniss

October 18 - November 23, 2014
Opening Reception, October 18th, 6-9pm

INTERSTATE is pleased to announce Beyond The Pale, organized by artist Sam McKinniss, including works by Nathaniel Axel, Alex Da Corte, Sarah Feehily, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Michael Marcelle, Chason Matthams, Eleanor Ray, Olympia Scarry, Bret Slater, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Michael Stamm, B. Thom Stevenson, and featuring William Ruthven Wheeler’s 1870 double-portrait of Mary Rosanna and Mrs. David Brooks.

The artist’s task was to render a ghost.

The painter is William Ruthven Wheeler, born in Scio, Michigan in 1832. He moved to Hartford in 1861 with his wife and lived on Wolcott Street. He died at his summerhouse in Twin Lakes, Salisbury, Connecticut in 1893 and is buried in the Zion Hill Cemetery near Trinity College.

The painting of interest, dated 1870, is of Mrs. David Brooks (Julia M. Clarke) and her daughter Mary Rosanna Brooks. Julia M. Clarke was born in Walton, New York, and married David B. Brooks of Hartford, coming to Connecticut as a bride. Mary Rosanna was their first child. She died in infancy in 1861.

By the time Wheeler’s portrait was finished, the child had been dead nine years. Wheeler’s task was to achieve a misbelief, likenesses of his subjects to make them seem alive, including that of a baby girl whom he had never seen.

Camille Paglia writes, “Eroticism is a realm stalked by ghosts. It is the place beyond the pale, both cursed and enchanted.” Wheeler’s double-portrait seems to stare at us from the realm Paglia describes, though not in an erotic way. Eerily, it is a mournful family portrait. Beyond the Pale surrounds this remarkable painting with contemporary works by a range of artists haunted by memories of past transgressions or heretofore-unfathomable desires. The works in this exhibition recall the familial, the sexed, the undead. The art is very wicked. Here it lies in glory.

Press for exhibition: ARTNews