Kerry Downey (b.1979, Ft. Lauderdale) is an interdisciplinary artist and educator based in New York. Downey’s work explores the many ways we inhabit our bodies and experience forms of transformation. Downey's propensity for collaboration and conversation is animated by curiosity about others and a drive to explore relationships – social, psychological, historical and material. Downey’s first major publication, We collect together in a net, was published by Wendy’s Subway in 2019. They have exhibited at the Bureau of General Services-Queer Division (New York, NY); Queens Museum (Flushing, NY); Bard CCS / Hessel Museum (Annandale, NY); Danspace Project (New York, NY); Knockdown Center (Maspeth, NY); Kate Werble (New York, NY); Cooper Cole (Toronto, CA); CAVE (Detroit, MI); and Taylor Macklin (Zurich, CH). Downey is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Emerging Artist Grant and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant. Artist-in-residencies include Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Madison, ME; Triangle Arts Association, Brooklyn, NY; SHIFT at EFA Project Space, New York, NY; the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions, New York, NY; Real Time and Space, Oakland, CA; and the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT. Downey participated in the Queer/Art/Mentorship program in 2013. Their work has been in Artforum, The Brooklyn Rail, and The Washington Post. Downey holds a BA from Bard College and an MFA from Hunter College. They teach in the Painting Dept. at Rhode Island School of Design and in the Art Education Dept. at City College.
"Downey's work tends to illuminate the correspondences between private emotion and political consciousness. It often presents irrecoverable experiences, unreliable memories, partial accounts and disorganized information – archives, systems and narrators that resist delivering facts or claims of knowledge. What replaces order is obsession. I often think about their work in relation to Georges Bataille, who saw entropy, waste, failure – the nonproductive expenditure of effort and desire – as forms of resistance and agency, a defiance of the values of property and conformity. The antonym of “waste” is “hoard” or “save,” but obsession erases that opposition." ---Rachel Baum PhD