Cheim & Read is pleased to present Maureen Dougherty: Borrowed Time, an exhibition of new work by the Manhattan-based painter and filmmaker. The show will open on July 11, 2023, at the gallery’s Chelsea location, 547 West 25th Street, and run through September 16. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Maureen Dougherty traveled to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where she joined a colleague to collaborate on a documentary film project. She had planned to be away from New York for about a month. The ensuing lockdown instead kept her in Pittsfield for more than two years. A longtime abstract painter, she found a small room that she could use as a studio and began to make meditative ink drawings at five o’clock each morning. These drawings would incrementally develop into figurative imagery, taking her art in a wholly new direction.
The artist has noted that “painting is like a clock — it has a sense of time.” It can move forward or, as in the works of Nicolas Poussin, it can stop and become eternal. She believes that our times call for a form of anti-fascist “degenerate” art — a perception that has intuitively led her to freely improvise on appropriated images from the OnlyFans porn hub. These paintings, focusing on lips, eyes, tongues, and teeth, on masked faces and bodies glomming onto one another, underscore the lengths that a human being often needs to go, in an alienating and polarized society, simply to feel alive.
The legacy of modernist figuration, from Henri Matisse, Marie Laurencin, and Kees van Dongen to Walt Kuhn and Alex Katz, simmers beneath the surface, yet her paintings possess a 21st-century touch and aura completely their own. With her parallel practice as a filmmaker exploring the social and political currents of the day, coupled with her upbringing in Schenectady, New York, a territory occupied by the Mohawk Nation for more than 1000 years before it was settled by the Dutch in 1661, she is invariably aware of art’s role both inside and outside history’s continuum.
Maureen Dougherty studied painting at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and at the New York Studio School. Her exhibitions include Some People at Cheim & Read and a solo show at Mark Borghi in Sag Harbor, Maureen Dougherty: What Are You Looking At?, both in 2022.
As a documentary filmmaker, Dougherty runs her own production company, Mojo Films, while enjoying a decades-long collaboration with Barbara Kopple, serving as line producer for such recent films as Desert One (2019), New Homeland (2018), and A Murder in Mansfield (2017). She lives and works in New York.