Elisheva Biernoff: Starting from Wrong

An exhibition of small-scale, finely-detailed paintings based on found photographs.

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present its second exhibition of new work by Elisheva Biernoff. Titled Starting from Wrong, the exhibition features twelve meticulously detailed paintings measuring no larger than 4 x 5 inches each. All completed since 2017, Biernoff’s recent paintings are carefully observed, two-sided works based on found and anonymous photographs. The exhibition will be on view from April 1 to May 28, 2021, and will be accompanied by a catalogue published by Fraenkel Gallery.

Envelop, 2019
acrylic on plywood, painted both sides, 3-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 1/32 inches [8.9 x 11.4 x .1 cm]

Aptly beginning with a work titled Wrong 1966, Biernoff’s new paintings depict photographs that may be considered to have failed in a variety of ways. These “failures” include various forms of fading, sun flares, and color shifts, with elements that appear to be damaged or missing. In Him, 2018, a man in a suit is obscured by sunlight coming from behind, rendering him anonymous, and breaking photography’s classic taboo against placing a subject in front of bright light. A mysterious Polaroid verges on jarring abstraction in Instant, 2021, as dark grey patches of “damaged” emulsion appear to rend a light-dappled oceanscape.

Instant, 2021
acrylic on plywood, painted both sides; painted poplar stand, 4 x 4 x 1/32 inches [10.2 x 10.2 x .1 cm]

Biernoff’s double-sided paintings are displayed on stands that allow them to be viewed from multiple perspectives. Ripple, 2020, features figures on a sandy expanse with scribbled handwriting on the verso that references the odd look of the print: “Can’t figure out why the waves unless it’s the heat? Do you have any idea?

Signal, (recto) 2021
acrylic on plywood, painted on both sides, 4 x 5-7/8 x 1/32 inches [101.6 x 14.9 x .1 cm]

To accompany the painted works, Biernoff has created a set of 50 “mistake” postcards based on her own photographs, some with photographic errors, others altered to appear misprinted. Gallery visitors will be invited to select a card to take home.

Starting from Wrong, 2021
set of 50 postcards

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring all fifteen paintings the artist has completed since 2017, when her first monograph was published. Each work is reproduced to exact scale and, consistent with the original publication, all paintings are reproduced recto and verso.

In connection with her exhibition Starting from Wrong, Elisheva Biernoff speaks to Frish Brandt about how she begins a painting, and how she thinks about the discarded and mistake-ridden photographs she collects, which have been the basis for her recent work.

Works on View

Ask About the Works in this Exhibition

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