Harper’s is pleased to announce two solo exhibitions opening in East Hampton on July 14: Brooklyn-based painter JJ Manford will present The Golden Pheasant at Flamingo Estate & Other Tales of Wanderlust in the front gallery, while multidisciplinary artist Eliot Greenwald unveils Weller Known Facts in the second gallery. Together, across new paintings, Manford and Greenwald each invite us into prismatic worlds where transcendent color lingers, inspiring luminous interior and exterior scenes.
In The Golden Pheasant at Flamingo Estate & Other Tales of Wanderlust, Manford incorporates oil sticks and Flashe paint to capture domestic spaces enveloped in nostalgia. The artist pays particular attention to the distinctive objects that ground the home space, illustrating artisan carpets, vases, and throw pillows with a kaleidoscope of hues. Manford adorns each private setting with these belongings and ushers viewers into surreal, yet inviting living spaces. Sometimes he welcomes us into the cherished homes of canonical artists. In Monet's Bedroom at Giverny, buttery yellow light floods a serene bedroom—we can almost feel the seductive warmth of the French countryside where Claude Monet lived and worked. We then travel to the 1960s in Warhol’s Hampton’s House with McCoy Snoopy Cookie Jar. Here, barn house red tones saturate Andy Warhol’s wood-paneled living room, recalling the rustic charm of mid-century Americana decor. Manford also leads us to Frida Kahlo’s tropical dwelling in The Garden of Casa Azul, in which billowing palm trees surround the beloved grounds where Kahlo produced many of her early works.
With the exception of a lone car, which sometimes meanders across the works, the paintings that comprise Eliot Greenwald’s Weller Known Facts in the second gallery reference less man-made environments. Instead, Greenwald draws from the natural and the supernatural worlds of science fiction to transport us to whimsical open-air havens. A cornucopia of luscious vegetation can be found throughout—sinuous green tendrils drift like succulents tracing the ocean floor; pine trees, stippled in forest green watch over shallow lakes while ripe coral petals bloom from trees, cradled beneath handsome golden mountains. In these fantastical scenes, night glides into day. Crescent moons glisten from behind brilliant streams of sunlight. Other times, enchanting washes of lavender engulf the sky, radiating the electric glow that precedes a storm or the eerie climate of a post-apocalyptic landscape. Greenwald paints these speculative tableaux onto rounded canvases of varying shapes and sizes. Standing before them, the mesmerizing works feel like portals to, or visions of, alternative universes.
It is clear that Greenwald and Manford are adept in this practice of world-building. Across their respective exhibitions, both artists act as guides, directing us through bygone homes and foreign ecosystems teeming with arresting color. These infectious palettes enliven compositions that are still, but not static—they repeatedly gesture towards the buzzing presence of life. In Manford’s works, the intimate possessions we collect in our homes take center stage, reminding viewers of the objects that influence everyday human existence. Greenwald, across paintings replete with unruly flora and set in sumptuous jungles, offers a glimpse into worlds where land in many cases outlives humanity and will not be tamed by the technological remnants of human life. Together, Greenwald and Manford entice us to escape the realities of the present day, daring us to lean into the liberatory exercise of trying out a new place.
—Written by Daniella Brito
JJ Manford (b. 1983, Boston, MA) received a BFA from Cornell University in 2006, a post-Baccalaureate certificate from School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009, and an MFA from Hunter College in 2013. Most recently, his work has been featured in solo presentations at Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco (2023); Harper’s, Los Angeles and East Hampton (2022 and 2021); Derek Eller Gallery, New York (2021 and 2019); and John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY (2016 and 2012). A catalog, Greenport Magic, accompanied an exhibition of the same title at Arts + Leisure Gallery, New York, in 2017. Manford has participated in group exhibitions at Harper’s, Los Angeles (2023 and 2021); KDR305, Miami (2023); The Hole, New York and Los Angeles (2022); Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco (2022); The Pit, Glendale and Palm Springs, CA (2022 and 2021); and Alexander Berggruen, New York (2020), among other venues. Reviews of his work have appeared in numerous publications including New Yorker, Artnet News, and KCRW Art Insider. Manford lives and works in Brooklyn.
Eliot Greenwald (b. 1983, Portland, ME) is a self-taught artist currently based in Ashfield, MA. Most recently, his work has been exhibited at Harper’s, New York, East Hampton, and Los Angeles (2023, 2022, 2021, and 2020); Long Story Short, Paris (2023); M+B, Los Angeles (2023 and 2022); WOAW Gallery, Hong Kong (2022); Best Western, Ridgewood, NY (2022); Taymour Grahne Projects, London (2021); Gana Art Nineone, Seoul (2021); and Hesse Flatow, New York (2021 and 2020). His work has appeared in Artmaze, Artnet News, and Juxtapoz, among other publications.