Essenhigh studied at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio (1991) and earned a Masters of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York (1992–94). She currently lives in New York City and is married to the artist Steve Mumford.
In the late 1990s, Essenhigh's work attracted attention as one of a generation of young painters in New York, including Cecily Brown, Damien Loeb and Will Cotton. Her early work was sometimes characterized as "Pop Surrealism" for its strangely attenuated cartoon forms and flat, simple colors. Critics reviewing her paintings have found a wide range of influence, including 19th-century caricatures, oriental art, Arabic miniatures, and contemporary comics.
One of her most recent exhibitions, at Jacob Lewis Gallery in Manhattan in fall 2014, received positive coverage, and showcased work showing a shift in her style, toward more representational work.
Along with her husband, she was one of 50 painters and sculptors featured in artist Joe Fig's 2009 project and book Inside the Artist's Studio.
Exhibits and Collections
Essenhigh has exhibited both nationally and internationally, including at: the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville (2012); Dayton Art Institute (2011); Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport (2011); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007); The Royal Academy of Art, London (2006); Domus Artium 2, Salamanca (2005); São Paulo Biennale (2004); Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2003), the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2003), the 2nd Berlin Biennale, Berlin Germany (2001); and PS1 MoMA, New York (2000).
Her work is in the collections of major museums including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Denver Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; PS1 MoMA, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Seattle Art Museum; Tate Gallery, London; Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Denver Art Museum, Denver and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
She is represented by Victoria Miro in London.
- "Inka Essenhigh" (PDF). Victoria Miro. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- Hoban, Phoebe: "The Mod Squad", New York Magazine, Jan 5, 1999 http://nymag.com/nymetro/arts/features/1051/
- Nahas, Dominique and Klein, Richard: "Pop Surrealism", Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Jan, 1999
- Clearwater, Bonnie: "Inka Essenhigh", Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, Nov, 2003
- Goldsworthy, Rupert (March 26, 2011). "The Magic of Twilight: Inka Essenhigh on Working Fast and Being Timeless". Art Critical. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- Plagens, Peter (Oct 24, 2014). "Art Review: Gallery Exhibitions of Inka Essenhigh, Michelle Grabner and Russian Avant-Garde Art". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- "Setup: Inka Essenhigh – "Comet Dust & Crystal Shards" @ Jacob Lewis Gallery". Arrested Motion. October 14, 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- "Miniature Models of Famous Artists in their Studios". Twisted Sifter. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- "Inka Essenhigh, Visual artist". Atlantic Center for the Arts. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
- The Saatchi Gallery; About Inka Essenhigh and her art Additional information on Inka Essenhigh including artworks, text panels, articles, and full biography
- Inka Essenhigh official website
- Art in America, May, 1999.
- Inka Essenhigh on Artnet
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