Inka Essenhigh: A Fine Line

September 15, 2018 - January 6, 2019

I wanted my work to have a connection to the world of the collective unconscious, the mysterious world of dreams and archetypes. — Inka Essenhigh

Inka Essenhigh’s surreal dream worlds are like fairy tales that challenge the imagination. She creates vivid, exotic, sensual environments using enamel and oil paints, and hybrids of the two mediums. Throughout each phase of experimental practice, Essenhigh creates dialogues with her work, navigating how the media and brush interact. It is through this approach that her dazzling works gain life.

Essenhigh’s large-format paintings offer ethereal expression of mythical and mystical flora and fauna. Her signature use of line is present throughout, keeping her paintings grounded with continuity. Swirls of light lead us up to a heavenly night sky. An old cemetery emerges from a hazy gloom. A yellow beanstalk’s frenzied climb snags a golden crown with a blue jewel as it grows.

Essenhigh received her BFA from Columbus College of Art & Design in Ohio, and her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has exhibited in museums and galleries around the world, and her work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Seattle Art Museum; Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

This exhibition is organized by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. With lead support from the Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation. Generous grants were provided by the City of Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the Business Consortium for Arts Support.

Inka Essenhigh, Summer Landscape, 2013, oil on paper