Kerry Downey: Orientations

As a multidisciplinary artist and teacher, my diverse practice supports an ongoing investigation into how we interact with each other physically, psychologically, and socio-politically. My videos, drawings, prints, and performances reimagine the possibilities and limitations of gender, intimacy, and relationships in late capitalist America. I am interested in how private feelings bleed unpredictably into the public space of the community and surrounding landscape. My work is influenced by my own experience of top surgery and gender queerness, my commitment to queer and feminist collaborations and pedagogies, as well as my role as a caregiver and teacher of people with Alzheimer’s and other disabilities.

My work presents a series of haptic encounters with people, objects, spaces, and histories, shifting between the intimate and remote, the slippery and stable, the poetic and political. I am interested in moments of recognition and the processes by which we experience an “other,” or come to know or love them. The handle, a recurring image in my work, is a literal representation of something we reach for, hold onto, or lean on for support. The handle is also a metaphor for our connection to the outside world. Exploring what is at stake when we interact with the world, my work contemplates these areas of contact—suspended possibilities that arise between one action and the next—and the ways we contain or expose ourselves in precarious, yet quotidian situations.

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Kerry Downey (born Fort Lauderdale, 1979) is an interdisciplinary artist and teacher. Downey’s work explores how we interact with each other physically, psychologically, and socio-politically. Encompassing video, printmaking, drawing, installation, and performance, their work is influenced by Downey’s personal experience of top surgery and gender queerness.

Recent exhibition venues include the Queens Museum, Flushing, NY; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA; the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Annandale, NY; the Drawing Center, New York, NY; Taylor Macklin, Zurich, Switzerland; and Franklin Street Works, Stamford, CT. ARTforum selected Downey’s work as a “Critic’s Pick” at a recent exhibition at REVERSE in Brooklyn, NY. In 2015, Downey was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant.  Artist-in-residencies and Fellowships include SHIFT at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space, the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions, Real Time and Space in Oakland, CA, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Queer/Art/Mentorship Fellowship. Downey currently works in Education at the Museum of Modern Art, and recently taught at Hunter College and Parsons School of Design. ​ They hold a BA from Bard College and an MFA from Hunter College.