The Wick List

Viewing Jennifer Packer: The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing

Packer’s first major survey in Europe makes the Serpentine’s reopening unmissable. Including new paintings and rarely seen drawings, it reveals her to be one of the most significant artists of her generation.

Born in 1984, the New York-based painter casts the traditional genres of portraiture and still life in a fresh, political light and addresses how Black lives can be represented today. ‘Representation and particularly, observation from life, are ways of bearing witness and sharing testimony,’ she says.

This bijou exhibition brings together 34 works dated from 2011 to 2020, among them 2015’s monochromatic Vision Impaired and the flower still life Say Her Name (2017), painted in response to the suspicious death of Sandra Bland, a Black American who is largely believed to have been murdered while in police custody in 2015. There will also be drawings, intimate interiors and portraits on display.

‘Jennifer Packer’s paintings demonstrate great commitment from the artist,’ says Hans Ulrich Obrist, ‘and therefore demand slow, sustained attention from the viewer.’ There are a lot of outstanding painting shows in London right now, but this is one of the most intriguing — and rewarding.

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