Living and working in New York, Inka Essenhigh's paintings draw on an astute awareness of contemporary culture and her immediate environment. They are infused with a dreamlike, surreal sensibility - often directly related to a particular perception or the atmosphere of an encounter, individual or scene. Everyday events such as a picnic in the park, supermarket shopping or drinking at an inner-city bar are transformed into grand, sometimes humorously epic scenes where the artists' cartoon-like figures fuse together with the trails and currents of energy that animate the canvas. With their pristine, high-gloss surfaces and accentuated colours Essenhigh's painting style continues to move towards an almost sculptural three-dimensionality in its delineation of forms.
In her most recent work, Essenhigh has abandoned the process of automatic drawing as a method of arriving at an unexpected subject matter. Her diverse visual vocabulary acquired from years of free association is here harnessed into creating deeply atmospheric images which express a keen awareness of seasonal cycles, reminding us of our fragile coexistence with the natural world, but also its resounding beauty.
Born in 1969, Inka Essenhigh lives and works in New York. She has exhibited at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville (2016 and 2012); Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (2013); Dayton Art Institute (2011); Center for Maine Contemporaray Art, Rockport (2011); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007); The Royal Academy of Art, London (2006); Domus Artium 2, Salamanca (2005); São Paulo Biennal (2004); Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2003) and the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2003). Her work is in the collections of major museums including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Denver Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; Museum of Modern Art / P.S.1 Center for Contemporary Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Seattle Art Museum; Tate, London; Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.