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Jamie Earnest, Cowardice Masquerading as Reason (silence), 2022, oil, ink, graphite and drywall tape on canvas, 38 x 56 in. (96.5 x 142.2 cm.)

Jamie Earnest: Good Mourning
October 5 – November 5, 2022

527 N. Taylor Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

here is pleased to present, Good Mourning, a solo exhibition by Pittsburgh-based artist, Jamie Earnest. The opening reception will take place Saturday, October 8th from 6 to 8pm. 

“Silence in the south is like the air of an Alabama summer - oppressive - sticky, heavy, & palpable, but invisible.” - John Archibald

Raised in rural Alabama, Jamie Earnest is best-known for her paintings and sculptures that explore themes of classic southern virtues that exist at odds with the collectivist, exclusionary narrative of southern hospitality. By employing specific symbols and narratives, Earnest attempts to come to terms with her own southern upbringing, which often feels contradictory with the social climate of her home state.

In Good Mourning, seven new paintings by Earnest channel mourning as a process of death and rebirth. While grief is based in nostalgia, mourning takes place in the present – a state of loss and reckoning with the reality of the past. In her new paintings, Earnest attempts a divine reconciliation with the South where symbols of death, such as scythes and tombstones, are depicted alongside lotus flowers or sunlight, symbols of transformation. Her works suggest that only through one’s willingness to traverse the eerie and uncomfortable is such a reconciliation possible.

Influenced by the writings of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, John Archibald, best-known for his courageous chronicling of Alabama, Earnest asks the viewer to consider the cowardice of silence in the face of societal wrongdoing (Cowardice Masquerading as Reason). In paintings such as Honor the Darkness, Between Omens, and Midnight Meeting, Earnest takes cues from French philosopher, Jacques Derrida, and his theories on hauntology and mourning – the ghosts of a collective cultural and social past that continue to haunt the present. However, through Earnest’s use of surreal forms and materials (cement, foil), she playfully and precariously juxtaposes the uncomfortable familiarity of the past with the ambiguity of the future.

According to the artist, “An awareness of southern hospitality’s chronic emptiness evokes disappointment so deep, it must also conjure love. Love for my neighbor, love for the uncomfortable process of mourning, and love for a future yet to come. To love the south is to see with clear eyes both its horrific darkness and its warm light, and to spend a lifetime of work trying to make sense of both."

Jamie Earnest (b. 1994, Decatur, AL) completed her BFA at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. Recent exhibitions include Exclamation Point, Union Hall, Denver, CO; Thicker Than a Sticker, Vulcan Materials Gallery, Birmingham, AL; Heat Wave, Cindy Lisica Gallery, Houston, TX; Memory Palace, Equity Gallery, New York, NY and Private Spaces and Public Personas, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA. The artist lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA.


Installation view. Photo: Adam Milliron.Installation view: Adam MillironInstallation view. Photo by Adam Milliron.