Countdown to Truth: Delano Dunn’s Phantom Paradise at Lesley Heller Gallery

Everyone’s coming-of-age story leans on moments of lost innocence. In Delano Dunn‘s exhibition “Phantom Paradise,” on view at Lesley Heller gallery from April 17-May 19, the delicate escapism of childhood – represented in the artist’s allusion to paint by numbers – brings forth themes which emerged during the artist’s childhood when the realities of the Rodney King riots enveloping his Los Angeles neighborhood set in. Dunn, who was thirteen in 1992 when the riots occurred, looks back at the last moments of innocence during this period, dealing with the trenchant subject matter it elicits in this first solo exhibit with Lesley Heller gallery.

“Make Me Feel Like Paradise” (2019) Delano Dunn

Dunn’s masterful mixture of imagery and materiality expresses the nuance of coming of age in an era fraught with racial tensions boiling over. The artist’s own African-American grandfather felt the need to protect his business during the King riots with a shotgun, while Dunn recalls sleeping together on the floor in the family’s living room, huddled together for safety in numbers. The natural and unnatural, reality and fantasy combine in “Phantom Paradise”. The sense of a loss of control is mirrored in the artist’s own use of paint-by-numbers in this series, where this straightforward painting method eschews the usual predictable result due to the arrival of unexpected guests intruding on the narratives on view.

Along with rich, vibrant textures and pointed subject matter, the artist crafts a narrative from disparate, often jarring color combinations. His work, “Make Me Feel Like Paradise,” features a radioactive orange behind a neutral-colored landscape flanked by figures who are apparently in the woods hunting birds – figures who, upon further inspection, turn out to be policemen carrying shotguns. Dunn himself remarks on the unsettling effect of the artwork as a whole. “Maybe it’s the image of this cop with a shotgun emerging from the trees (but) it scares the hell out of me! That’s enough to make (this work) dear to me; It makes me uncomfortable.” The discomfort experienced through a tour of Phantom Paradise occurs alongside moments of great beauty and delicate use of line: there is a discomfort lying in wait here in a paradise that recedes into the background the closer you come to obtaining it for your very own.

“Why Must it Be You Always Creep” (2019) Delano Dunn

The mixed media and collage works on view in “Phantom Paradise” at Lesley Heller gallery repurposes found imagery from the time of the riots, taken from Harper’s Bazaar, alongside seemingly neutral imagery of birds found in nature. Yet are birds free? Do they belong to a world so idyllic? Though they may fly away, Maya Angelou herself knows that the wings of a bird in a cage are clipped. There is great beauty in the bird’s song, yet it is a song of he who is hunted, he who is held captive, he who is not allowed to roam free to find a paradise of his own. The combined result of experiencing “Phantom Paradise” is an understanding of the deep well that binds us together: through imagery, texture, and memory, along with the simultaneous knowledge that the gulf that divides us is so deep that a bridge of listening, understanding, and change is required to be built in order to bring a change to the destructive, all-consuming cycle enveloping us.

“Phantom Paradise” was a solo exhibition of works by Delano Dunn at Lesley Heller gallery, 45 Orchard Street, New York, NY from April 17-May 19, 2019

Frieze Recap 2019: Don’t Miss These Booths at Frieze New York!

by Katie Hector

 

Spring has arrived, and Frieze New York assumes its annual presentation under the iconic white tent on Randall’s Island. As per usual, Frieze presents an opportunity for galleries to expose their pre-eminent artists to a diverse audience comprised of collectors, institutions, and art enthusiasts alike, who flock from all over the world to attend the five-day event. This year’s fair is host to a distinct collection of galleries displaying impressive rosters of established artists as well as newcomers on the rise. We decided to turn our attention away from spectacle-producing options in order to compile our list of Top Presentations at this year’s iteration, focusing our attention instead on the innovators and risk-takers on view at this year’s fair.

Casey Kaplan: Matthew Ronay

Installation of works by Matthew Ronay. Photo by Dawn Blackman. Image courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York.

The enigmatic sculptures of Matthew Ronay displayed on pristine white pedestals at the Frieze Casey Kaplan booth entice visitors to take a closer look. Executed in a spectrum of jewel-toned hues, and various mediums and surfaces, the intricate components of Ronay’s medium-sized sculptures transform into living, breathing extraterrestrial fauna. In contrast to Ronay’s previous monochrome environmental installation to give context to the sculptures, this pair down approach allows each sculpture to be considered as an individual unto itself.

 

Koenig and Clinton: Tony Marsh   – Anoka Faruqee & David Driscoll

 

Anoka Faruqee & David Driscoll, 2019P-12 (Circle), acrylic on linen on panel, Image courtesy of Koenig & Clinton.        

A pairing of Tony Marsh’s ceramics vessels and Anoka Faruqee & David Driscoll’s optical captivating paintings marks an ode to the formal qualities of surface, color, and materiality at the Koenig and Clinton presentation. Organic and evocative, the surfaces of Marsh’s thirteen ceramic vessels give the impression of minerals, lichens, mold, calcium deposits and oxidized samples sourced directly from the natural world. While the distinct color combinations and layered patterns of Anoka Faruqee & David Driscoll’s paintings speak to vision, perception, and new technologies. Koenig & Clinton aims to give their fair-going audience an opportunity to indulge in the optically exciting and technically precise works of Marsh, Faruqee, and Driscoll.

 

Bridget Donahue: Lisa Alvarado

Lisa Alvarado, Traditional Object 34, acrylic, fabric, wood, 54 × 88 inches,  2019. Image courtesy of Bridget Donahue.

Bridget Donahue’s installation is solely dedicated to the work of artist and musician Lisa Alvarado who’s bold tapestry-like paintings, totemic floor objects, and sound installation permeate the space. Before these brightly-colored works are installed upon the white walls of a gallery or fair booth, they first grace the stage serving as backdrops for Alvarado’s band, Natural Information Society. Upon inspecting the rhythmic brushstrokes, tassels, and fringe of Alvarado’s work one slowly becomes aware of a low buzzing noise which soon evolves into a drone, and subsequently a purr. Discrete speakers placed along the parameter of the booth emit ambient sound and alludes to Alvarado’s holistic approach to art making. Alvarado personifies an artist in the process of manifesting her own mythology. By utilizing a compelling mix of image, object, and sound Alvarado creates an experience which invites viewers into her practice, lifestyle, and philosophy.

 

Hutchinson Modern: Freddy Rodriguez

Installation featuring works by Freddy Rodriguez, Image courtesy of Hutchinson Modern.

 

Hutchinson Modern dedicates their booth to championing the work of Dominican-born, New York-based artist Freddy Rodriguez. A series of eight paintings on canvas, executed since the early 1970’s, works on view shine a light on Rodriguez’s long-spanning career and unwavering practice. Vibrant geometric forms and graphic lines carve up the picture plane and convert each canvas into a balanced compositional code. Founder of Hutchinson Modern, Isabella Hutchinson, enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a trailblazer for Latin American art and has made a career privately advising and expanding the contemporary market for works such as Rodriguez’s.  

 

Galerie Lelong & Co.: Various Artists

Paintings/Booth installation: works by Sarah Cain. Image courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

Galerie Lelong’s bifurcated booth boasts the breadth of their artist roster and offers fair-goes two flavors of contemporary art. Vibrant and playful meets socially poignant as Sarah Cain’s chromatic paintings are displayed parallel to a collection of work by Alfredo Jaar, Barthélémy Toguo, and Ana Mendieta. Perhaps conscious of the fair’s draw, Galerie Lelong & Co. cast a wide net ensuring there is something which will appeal to a wide spectrum of sensibilities. The dichotomous nature of the booth allows Cain’s experimental paintings and Jaar’s neon text, Toguo’s sculpture, and Mendieta’s photographs to effectively contrast yet highlight one another.

Alfredo Jaar, Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness, neon, 100.5 x 78.75 inches, 1995/2014.  Image courtesy of Galerie Lelong & Co.

 

Half Gallery: Vaughn Spann

Booth installation featuring Vaughn Spann paintings. Image courtesy of Half Gallery.

Half Gallery’s booth exhibits the imaginative and impactful work of Vaughn Spann, whose five large-scale paintings on canvas commandeer the space and represent Spann’s preoccupation with emblematic imagery. At first, the collection of paintings appear to created by two different artists. Two uncanny oil paintings represent portraits of women, while three abstract paintings of pictographic symbols, “X”s and rainbows are presented side-by-side. These disparate approaches to image-making are in actuality couched within the same conceptual impetus. Spann, who graduated from Yale in 2018, aims to describe the African-American experience by creating images that are politically inspired, with references to social codes. This selection of work emphasizes Spann’s ability to seize current events and historical precedent as relevant subject matter in order to produce paintings that are timely cultural and sociopolitical observations.

 

Various Small Fires (VSF): Diedrick Brackens

Booth installation of works by Diedrick Bracken. Booth images courtesy of Renato Ghiazza.

Diedrick Bracken’s textiles on view at the Various Small Fires booth address notable trailblazers of lore, and hearken to the true identity of the iconic American Cowboy. This body of work expresses the idealization of the American “wild West” during the late 19th century, post-Civil War era, wherein the profession of cowhand was one of few paid professions available to African-Americans. Utilizing a system of woven algorithms, Bracken generates a series of double-sided textiles that incorporate his silhouetted body merging and interacting with that of a mustang, posed in mid-stride. Bracken employs these icons in order to investigate stereotypes, tradition, and veiled histories through the manipulated woven surfaces of his textiles.

Fauna of Mirrors Reflects a Nuanced Approach to Nature

Fauna of Mirrors, a site-responsive exhibition curated by Etty Yaniv currently on view at the LIU Downtown Brooklyn campus, opened to the public on March 14, 2019 and remains on view through May 17th. The enticing exhibition features works by Charlotte Becket, Samuelle Green, Tamara Kostianovsky, Jessica Lagunas, Christina Massey, Lina Puerta, and Kathleen Vance. These works are housed in a glass enclosure on the LIU campus. Referencing Jorge Luis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings, this contemporary Fauna of Mirrors refers to Borges’ proposed “land beyond mirrors” which hosts strange, unknown creatures, a phantasmagoria which is reflected in the incredible images aggregated through illusionary reflections spilling across the glass surfaces.

Installation view, Fauna of Mirrors at Long Island University’s downtown Brooklyn campus (image courtesy Etty Yaniv)

Multi-dimensional reflections on the Anthropocene and humanity’s relationship with nature provide real-time reflections in the changing daylight onsite at Fauna of Mirrors. A triumph in adapting the Japanese viewing garden’s prized technique of miegakure (“hide and reveal”), the exhibit creates dialogues across the space lying between the various installations, sculptures and kinetic artworks on view. A pulsing, breathing form in its own right, Fauna of Mirrors creates a visual orchestral crescendo at Long Island University’s downtown Brooklyn campus. Readily experienced, yet cordoned off from the public, the forms create an artistic menagerie that creates a lingering impression – whether you gaze upon it for five seconds or five hours something new is revealed with every visit. Emphasizing both the verticality and the rounded curvature of this specific space, Fauna of Mirrors combines works by compelling contemporary artists into a lush representation of the interstices linking nature and artifice.

Suspended sculptures by Tamara Kostianovsky welcome visitors to the exhibit while alluding to sacrifice and consumption. Meat hooks hold up splayed, feathered creatures resembling dead birds – which upon further inspection, are actually created from a composite of different fabrics. Kostianovksy captures the poetic grace of these forms, recreating the exact curve of each bird feather with care and immaculate attention to detail. The figures are artificial recreations of natural forms, exacting the toll that our civilization can exact on our avian brethren.

Sculptures by Tamara Kostianovsky in Fauna of Mirrors (image courtesy Etty Yaniv)

Just beyond this sobering installation, the exhibit unfolds in its entirety before the viewer. Works are discernible by Charlotte Becket, Samuelle Green, Kathleen Vance, Christina Massey, and Lina Puerta. Immediately following the line of sight around the left curvature of the gallery, Lina Puerta’s artwork is a visible juxtaposition of sign and signifier. Puerta evinces her contemplative skill with metal built over a period of time as a Kohler artist in residence. The impressions of natural objects are visible in pieces of iron, carefully arranged around what appears to be a tree branch, but is actually a branch cast in iron itself. Puerta notes the combination of ephemeral and eternal provided inspiration for her work “Untitled” (branch on tiles)(2015). “During a 2015 residency at Kohler, in their factory’s foundry, I had the great opportunity to create iron casts of about anything I wanted,” reflects Puerta.  “The Large branch is a cast of an actual fallen branch that had begun to rot, found near the house were I stayed during the residency (Sheboygan, WI). I loved the idea of suspending in time something so fragile, that was dead, yet actively in transformation, as it decomposed. I was excited to cast such a delicate, life and death process into a strong, almost unbreakable material, as iron.”

Visible just beyond Puerta’s work is Kathleen Vance’s “Displaced Riverbed” (2019). A suspended riverbed in miniature, the man-made and natural collide in Vance’s artistic vision. “In order to simulate the natural, I use materials as close in texture and color as would be found in nature, often mixing natural with artificial materials to generate a feel of the “real”.  In this piece, I have sculpted the riverbed and incorporated collected soil and detritus from forest walks.  This piece is meant to be perceived as a riverbed scooped out of a natural environment, suspended in time and space.”

“I would like for visitors to consider their personal environment and seek out local access points to nature, such as parks and nature preserves,” reflects Vance.  “In presenting a single section of a river, removed from its course, I am giving just a piece that cannot function without its whole.  To experience that, you must go to the source.” Poignant and captivating in its attention to detail and alluring materiality, Vance represents our captivation with the aesthetics of the natural world.

Samuelle Green’s “Bloom 1″(2019) encircles a pillar anchoring the space, rising up around this building feature like a bush in bloom or a colony of mushrooms. Green takes into consideration the various viewpoints of the built environment, subversively reclaiming aspects of the man-made back into the natural environment. Carefully responding to the curvature of the space, Green dexterously re-purposes found paper to craft her intricate, geometrical compositions, her installation leading into a small cluster of mixed media sculptures by artist Christina Massey.

Massey’s assorted sculptures combine textures in her works, juxtaposing glass and metal in sharp angles and elusive curves. “I love having multiple complex textures and materials in a piece, there’s a challenge there that I love so much in the artistic process so make these seemingly odd materials work together.” Massey continues to expand particularly on her use of glass, an ancient process capturing various elements of nature into a refined practice spanning centuries of artistic creation. “This particular work was funded in part by a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Fund that was specifically granted for me to pursue creating new work using experimental glass blowing techniques, so each piece has some glass in it along with a combination of metals, wire, fencing and paint.” In addition to this rapt attention to form, Massey also created an installation built of carefully conceived forms ready to display across the verticality of the space. “This is such a unique space, so you had to think about not only what the options for hanging work were…but the proximity to the glass and columns, too. For me, the work is modular which allowed me a little room to play once in the space and react to how other work was installed.”

Side view, Fauna of Mirrors (image courtesy Etty Yaniv)

Absorbing light in a dark silhouette shifting through space and whirring ominously, Charlotte Becket’s “La Mancha Negra 4″(2019) follows a peculiar choreography, shifting around the gallery floor. Formed of various industrial materials, Becket’s kinetic sculpture confounds the viewer. Unsettling yet awe-inspiring, the sheer scale of the sculpture absorbs the visitor’s fully attention. Encountering Becket’s barely-defined form as it lurks and pushes through its immediate environment, the internal logic of the figure remains a captivating mystery. The parallels between this menacing figure’s indiscernible actions and our own inane choices to continue with environmental destruction are only hinted at as the viewer is encouraged to relate to the figure and the environment, and our choices in relation to it, on their own terms.

Finally, near the entryway to the building itself lie detailed, tactile pieces by Jessica Lagunas and Lina Puerta. Mementos of our natural world, leaves form delicate books and canvases for words and markings that prove to be enticing to the touch. Protected in these enclosed vitrines, Lagunas’ poetic ability to capture the lyrical beauty of natural outlines of leaves and other ephemera displays an intimacy with these fragile natural materials that proves to be both captivating and immensely rewarding for the viewer. Juxtaposed against the enduring iron impressions of natural objects by Puerta displayed in the same cases, the overall effect is a reminder of the beauty and frailty of our natural environment.

Works by Jessica Lagunas for Fauna of Mirrors (image courtesy the author)

The poetry of Yaniv’s powerfully curated Fauna of Mirrors proves to be an elegiac, yet lively, living documentation of the underlying forces that both unite and divide us as a species from the Earth that both sustains us and relies on our decisions. A reckoning displayed in a carefully defined space, this alternate view of the world we create and the natural ephemera we observe proves to be a whimsical mirror that holds lessons for us all.

Inside/Outside at Plaxall Gallery Reveals the Private Side of Mental Illness

On view through April 7, 2019 at Plaxall Gallery, Inside/Outside documents the struggle that artists enduring mental illness experience every day. From displaying a fragmented sense of self to simplifying the figure down to a minimalist aesthetic, many works on view in the exhibit pay homage to the mind’s sense of self and the existing relationship between the mind and the body. Including artists such as Corran Shrimpton, Ella Veres, Nandan He, Angela Roger and many more, the works on view draw from the rich tapestry present in both the nearby Fountain House gallery community of artists and the Flushing Interfaith Council to produce an intersectional and urgent conversation around the effects of mental health on the artist community in NYC and beyond.

Inside/Outside at Plaxall Gallery, featuring work by Corran Shrimpton. Image courtesy the gallery.

On Thursday, April 4th, Fountain House Gallery in partnership with Plaxall Gallery will present a panel discussion around topics related to mental illness that are present in the exhibition. The Panel takes place from 5:30-7 pm at the Gallery space, is free and open to the public, and will feature artists Evan Brown, Wilfredo Benitez, Gina Minielli, Sharon Taylor and Maura Terese in conversation with curator Nancy Bruno and Ariel Willmott, Director at Fountain House Gallery. Fountain House Gallery Director Ariel Willmott notes the importance of featuring artwork in conversation around mental illness as crucial both to the wider community and for her personally. “The urgency and need for breaking the stigma around mental illness has become very clear to me and I believe that artists through their art and voice play an important role in achieving this,” she reveals.

Visions of self and a sense of longing and alienation permeate works throughout the gallery space. Shrimpton’s iconic sculpture depicts a female figure seemingly comprised of bricks that evokes a sense of constructed identity: while some of possess a firm understanding of who we are, those burdened with mental illness can shift in their relationship to self every single day. A self-understanding seemingly constructed from sturdy bricks one day can feel unstable and flimsy the next, depending on one’s mental health state.

Many of the paintings, sculptures and mixed media works on view reflect on partial, obscured and/or alternate views of one’s self. Identity becomes shrouded in a filter according to one’s daily physical and mental chemistry, according to prescriptions taken and not taken, mood or hormonal shifts. Many of the works on view are created by women, echoing societal pressures prevalent on how women and their figures are viewed in a highly critical society as opposed to the lack of critical attention paid to their male counterparts. It is important to remember, however, that mental health issues can affect everyone regardless of race, gender, religion, socioeconomic status or age.

Installation view, Inside/Outside at Plaxall Gallery

Artworks on view grapple with a wide range of topics, which are treated with a delicate, insightful nuance. Visitors are encouraged to aspire to a sense of empathy around mental illness. Perusing artworks on view in the space, guests can better gain perspectives around the challenges these artists confront every day in creating artwork, interacting with others, and searching their own sense of self. Introspection and admiration are encouraged at this profound, moving exhibition that deconstructs the building blocks of identity through a stunning array of artistic practices.


Inside/Outside
is on view at Plaxall Gallery through April 7th, 2019. The gallery is located at 5-24 46th Avenue in Long Island City, Queens, and visiting hours are Thursday, 6-10 pm & Saturdays/Sundays, 12-5 pm. Don’t miss your last chance to witness this compelling contemporary view into the minds of artists working around mental health topics. 

I’m Your Venus at Bee in the Lion Gallery

Contributor: Douglas Turner

 

Closing April 5th, I’m Your Venus at Bee in the Lion gallery celebrates the mythical figure of Venus in her myriad of forms. 

Michael Wolf, “I’m Your Venus”, 2019, copper, stone and 18k gold plated brass) Image courtesy the artist

The artistic fascination with the female figure is the primary focus of this most recent show at Bee in the Lion.  Venus is depicted one hundred ways, one hundred times – this may be an exaggeration, but her likeness is represented so frequently that we can begin to contemplate the qualities of Venus in works seemingly unrelated to her whatsover. I’m Your Venus asks what is “Venus”: in symbol, in form, and in identity. The show exhibits works by Arslan, Janie Korn, Lucy MacGillis, Pedro Calapez, Andy Warhol, Wendy Ploger, Dana Nechmad, and Michael Wolf as well as African artifacts and the 19th century bijin-ga (beautiful women woodblock prints) of Tokugawa-era Japan.

In her many representations, Venus has always transcended a singular specific figure. She is the icon for the rebirth of civilization and represents a shift in culture. In her many physical forms, we discern unfettered observations through various artists’ eyes:  an 11 cm female figurine, pregnant with full breasts from far-off Greece, was discovered in 1908 and was immediately named “Venus of Willendorf{. Although she has nothing to do with Venus, this story details the transcendence of Venus: a title denoting reverence for female resplendence. Michael Wolf figuratively radicalizes the “Venus of Willendorf” for a post-pop generation. Bright interpretations of the figurine push the bounds of the icon into revered idolism.

Janie Korn, “Revenge Bodies”, 2017, Acrylic, Resin and Clay. Image courtesy the artist

Portuguese painter Pedro Calapez’s abstracts use a sensuality created by his broad brushstrokes, plying seductive curves that swell with fullness. Known for his illuminations of the female form, Arslan achieves beauty in his painting “Venus Rising”, singing the praises of the feminine as divine in all her glorious dynamism. In “Glimpse”, we are offered a divergent intimate observation of the female figure that is sensual and sensitive, effusing her vulnerability and perhaps instinctual generosity of spirit transcending materiality for something more along the lines of virtue. Lucy MacGillis’s self-portrait renders female form with lack of adornment and a hewn composition that seems to convey the passing of time. And an early illustrative work by Andy Warhol, which the gallery chose as a light-hearted addition to the show, exudes both elegance and grace. Contrasting these contemporary works, African artifacts sit on plinths among the gallery. The “Seated Woman”, with its angular carvings,  indicates a direct influence on Western art history.

African Art, Seated Woman Figure. Image Courtesy the Bee in the Lion.

I’m Your Venus is an exhibit both playful and sensuous, recounting the storied conflict of femininity deftly pitting women against the expectations and sensibilities laid out for them. Janie Korn’s “Revenge Bodies” are curvaceous figurines of pop culture icons, like Star Jones whose body transformed before our eyes after her gastric bypass surgery. Body, and image, in these times, is up for re-imagination as the body transforms in view of the public eye. Korn’s work is in contrast with the 19th Century arts of ukiyo-e that espouse the privacy with ordinary intimacy. Dana Nechmad draws inspiration from Louise Bourgeois’ gleaming ‘The Arch of Hysteria’ for their work, with paired forms of female figures symbolically elucidating the vigors and torment internal to the female existence. On a more lighthearted note, an early Andy Warhol illustrative piece of the head of a woman paired with the heads of a swan and a horse, each wearing a pearl necklace, contemplating the virtues of being a woman. 

In a contemporary and classic exploratory contrast, “I’m Your Venus” honors the romanticism of Venus while also discussing a contemporary understanding of women in a social, political and religious context through symbol, form and identity. The show closes Friday, April 5th. The Bee in the Lion gallery, located in Gramercy, is open by appointment.

Arslan, “Venus Rising”, 2019, Oil on Canvas. Image courtesy the artist

The Bee in the Lion

310 East 23rd Street, 2H

New York, NY 10010

T: +1 212 542 0525

info@beeinthelion.com

 

Altered States: Artist Evelyne Huet Abstracts Humanity in DEAR HUMANS

“Envious Thoughts”, Evelyne Huet, DEAR HUMANS at Atlantic Gallery

Evelyne Huet‘s solo exhibition at Atlantic Gallery, DEAR HUMANS, extracts the pure essence of humanity in a range of mostly abstract compositions. Spanning sombre-colored hues and bright flashes of neon, the digital paintings on view intersperse various references to the human psyche. Linear compositions merge with organic forms to allow the viewer’s subconscious to create spontaneous responses to the overall effect of each artwork. Translating the spirit of Color Field painting from the analog to the digital, Huet’s works draw from the same elevated abstraction as artists like Gerard Richter. Color and line merge to form in Huet’s DEAR HUMANS, with the works forming a digitally-painted deep dive into various psychological and emotional states. On view through March 30, 2019, DEAR HUMANS provides a nuanced and provocative exploration of both normal and altered states of human consciousness.

“The Innocents”, Evelyne Huet, DEAR HUMANS at Atlantic Gallery

Huet draws from her professional background in anthropology, mathematics and fine art to create a new, digitally-created sensorial realm. With colors seemingly melting back toward flat planes of tones beyond amorphous figures, Huet doesn’t hold back from bold juxtapositions in these works while still maintaining an ethereal quality. “I choose to study this discipline for its infinitely dream-like dimension,” remarks Huet. Creating works centered around the human form and psyche, Huet physically creates these digital paintings using her fingers on a screen: building these complex representational works directly with her body, mediated by technology. Drawing from Western art history’s roots in religious subject matter, specifically by bestowing titles such as “The Parables of Jesus of Nazareth” and “Nativity” on her artworks, Huet’s exhibition spans social and historical themes that remain timeless. The primitive and cutting-edge technology merge in her artistic stylings, with the final paintings printed specifically in Brussels with rare, museum-quality Diasec® finish (in limited editions of 3).

“Nativity”, Evelyne Huet, DEAR HUMANS at Atlantic Gallery

Evelyne Huet is a French artist who lives and works in Paris. She was originally trained as a mathematician, before teaching for years at the Sorbonne in Paris before re-orienting her career toward Fine Arts. Originally working as an oil painter, Huet changed to digital painting and as a new means of translating her artistic vision. She is a member of the Sociétaire of the Salon d’Automne, as well as membership in the OpenArtCode group of international artists. DEAR HUMANS is on view at Atlantic Gallery, 548 W 28th Street, Suite 540 New York, NY 10001, through March 30th (open Tuesday-Saturday, 12-6 pm).

Contemporary Desire: Puppies and Flowers at the Royal Society of American Art

by contributor Daniel Morowitz

 

Beauty and companionship are two simple human yearnings that have served as remedies for loneliness for as long as desire itself has existed. While we look for these qualities in lovers and partners, by proxy, people have filled the void through various means. In the history of art, symbolism is used to represent this proxy, and code the human experience through representation with a rich language or symbols. Classically dogs have been a stand in for fidelity, loyal companionship with an unbroken bond; flowers, beauty, being both the feminine lure and stand in for sexual organs and desire. Puppies and Flowers, curated by Katie Hector and on view at The Royal Society of American Art in Williamsburg, Brooklyn until March 31st, takes this classical iconography and filters it through a contemporary lens. 

Dominique Fung, My Dog is Anemic, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches, 2017. Image courtesy of The Royal Gallery.

With social media and a pluralized consciousness mediated by omnipotent digital awareness, symbols take on renewed, potent meaning; no longer just allegorical, painting can historicize life even as we live it. With this vision in mind, Puppies and Flowers creates a world of desire, recognizable by the trappings of modern impulses, while remaining an approximation of genuine connection. Walking into The Royal Society of American Art, dogs immediately greet you in the form of Dominique Fung’s “My Dog is Anemic” and Mark Zubrovich’s “Stick it Out and Touch Your Cleats”. The playful balance of these two works in dialogue is immediately reciprocal, with an emphasis on the blue hues (in Fung’s painting) and red tones (in Zubrovich’s work). The duality is established, mirroring fire and water, hot and cold. Fung’s dogs lick a centrally-placed vase, while Zubrovich’s anthropomorphized baseball player bends down to present his tail to the viewer. These works together can seem to point toward a sexual act, although this connection would not be made independently. The connection forms a compelling narrative which ties the viewer to the scene, making imagination complicit in the construction of the fantasy.

Mark Zubrovich, Stick It Out and Touch Your Cleats, acrylic on canvas, 26 x 31 inches, 2018. Image courtesy of The Royal Gallery.

Jenn Dierdorf’s paintings of flowers in vases inhabit the traditional art history canon of Nature Morte, flanking the canine imagery of Fung and Zubrovick. Unlike the dogs, Dierdorf’s flowers are fleeting wisps, with one painting rendered in tones of black and white, while the other painting is comprised of vivid tones. The colorful image, Night Creeps, grows out of black, ordure masses, as if they are the remains of rotten black flowers which nourish new growth.

Jenn Dierdorf, Night Creeps, acrylic and ink on canvas, 25 x 21 inches, 2018. Image courtesy of The Royal Gallery.

Night and day present very different worlds, and allude to the transitory nature of time. Night will always give over to day, day to night, flowers even give way to seasons and a bloom in May differs from one in October: referenced by the title of one of the Deirdorf’s larger work on paper.

Katarina Janeckova, Bad Ass Roxx (Roxanne Edwards), 20 x 16 inches, acrylic on canvas, 2016. Image courtesy of The Royal Gallery.

The back wall is the most direct play on the theme, arching around to the wall on the right. A bouquet of paintings presents flowers first, playing on a real life application. Figuration becomes mixed in through the painting of a body holding a blue vase, where Katarina Janeckova codes a black body holding an image of a white figure as a modern day Olympia. Here she is presenting a white body, but handing the authority to the black figure, flipping the narrative and upending the classical power dynamic. 

This representation stands in stark contrast to the historic lithograph-style drawing to its right, where Delphine Hennelly’s women sit indifferently. Even the dog presents their back, affronting traditional fidelity that ties women to the male gaze, allowing these figures to take agency and not perform classical representational motifs.

Delphine Hennelly, Untitled II, gouache and pastel on paper, 14 x 12 inches, 2017.

Image courtesy of The Royal Gallery.

Rounding out this wall are two paintings on panel by Aliza Morell roses rendered as if presented in neon, and two impressionist inspired still-lifes: one by Delphine Hennelly and one by Jenn Dierdorf, creating a clash between classical representation and the garden of our modern world.

To end the narrative juxtaposition the largest painting, directly across from this “flower wall” on the left side of the gallery, by Janeckova, features a woman reclining on a couch with a dog at her feet. Orbs float above her head, reverberating like memory orbs, while round flower paintings by Tess Michalik are featured to the right, and to the left more of Zubrovich’s baseball playing dogs.

 

Tess Michalik, Louis Francois, oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches, 2019. Image courtesy of The Royal Gallery.

This wall exists as a place of fantasy and directly makes reference to the constant reconstruction of our engagement with the established motifs present through the gallery. A sleeping figure infinitely dreams, rearranging all the tools and symbols around the gallery. I like to believe the sleeping figure is the stand in for the viewer. Surrounded by dogs and flowers, she is the exhibition, a symbolic dreaming of how the adjacent symbolism can dictate her next move when she wakes; and like the viewer, how will she change her world when she exits the room with this information.

Puppies and Flowers is on view at The Royal Society of American Art in Williamsburg, Brooklyn until March 31st, 2019.

The Virtual is Visceral in “Speculative Cultures” at the New School’s Kellen Gallery

Ancient and contemporary collide in the spectacular “Speculative Cultures: A Virtual Reality Exhibition”, on view through April 14th at the Anna-Maria and Stephen Keller gallery at the New School (2 W. 13th Street, New York, NY). Curated by Tina Sauerlaender (DE), Peggy Schoenegge (DE), and Erandy Vergara (MX/CA), “Speculative Cultures” examines the physical remains and objects that embody the weight of cultures immemorial, ranging from ritualistic and spiritual artifacts to our current digital practices. Featuring a survey of contemporary artists working across the digital realm, “Speculative Cultures” features cutting-edge artists including Morehshin Allahyari (IR/US), Scott Benesiinaabandan (CA), Matias Brunacci (AR/DE), Yu Hong (CN), Francois Knoetze (ZA), Erin Ko (US) and Jamie Martinez (CO/US).

Installation shot, “Speculative Cultures. A Virtual Reality Exhibition” (2019), curated by Tina Sauerlaender, Peggy Schoenegge, and Erandy Vergara. Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons/The New School. Photo: Marc Tatti

This survey show probes the various ways in which artists working in multi-disciplinary, digital artistic practices re-create myth and ritual. A global survey of civilizations’ myths and spiritual practices, the intersectional approach adopted by the curatorial team frees it from the abject fetishism still (regrettably) present in many contemporary surveys meditating on diverse civilizations. Adapting diverse shamanistic and traditional practices into a digital format, “Speculative Cultures” allows breathing room for entrenched ideological precepts to be creatively re-interpreted.

Exhibiting artists such as Morehshin Allahyari (IR/US) and  Scott Benesiinaabandan (CA) configure their practices by denying the myth of Western hegemony perpetuated by way of colonialism. Allahyari’s postcolonial approach reflects her contemporary, digital artistic practice in dialogue with ancient Iranian belief systems. Benesiinaabandan, meanwhile, configures an ancient story of the Anishinabe native peoples of the North American continent, orienting it toward a futuristic setting.

Diverse experiences await visitors to the exhibit, including an interactive shaman’s journey created by Matias Brunacci (AR/DE) and explorations of China’s rich historical diversity as told through the eyes of artist  Yu Hong (CN). Francois Knoetze (ZA) blends past and present into futurist modes of dress, posture and performance. Meanwhile, the sole US contributors – artists Erin Ko (US) and Jamie Martinez (CO/US) – draw from the Egyptian Book of the Dead to imagine new possibilities and propose a liminal spiritual space linking life with afterlife.

Jamie Martinez and Erin Ko,”Neo Kingdom”, Digital Installation component. “Speculative Cultures. A Virtual Reality Exhibition” (2019), curated by Tina Saurlaender, Peggy Schoenegge, and Erandy Vergara

Ko and Martinez formulate an approach especially apt to continuing the discussion around shfits and symbiosis in cultural tradewinds, ranging from analog to digital. Their installation, “Neo Kingdom”, contains both tangible and virtual components, welcome visitors into an ethereal space delineated by light and fabric. This partition, representing the veil separating life as we experience it from the afterlife, also serves as a boundary marking a viewer’s shift from observing with the senses to observing an unseen, digital world as represented through virtual reality. The power of the exhibit as a whole is cemented in this particular gesture, showing us that by contemplating the methods by which great civilizations of the past imagined the overlap of physical and spiritual realities directly impacts the modes by which contemporary artists can imagine alternate cultures.

“Speculative Cultures. A Virtual Reality Exhibition” is on view through April 14 at the Anna-Maria and Stephen Keller gallery at the New School (2 W. 13th Street, New York, NY).

Presented in partnership with the Consulate General of Canada in New York.
Technical expertise and support kindly provided by the 
XReality Center at The New School

Bold Tones Define “Self Alive” at The Yard South Williamsburg

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” 

In an era of dissonance, “Self Alive” brings the wisdom of self-awareness to bear, playing witness to a whirlwind of textures and hues. Featuring the work of artists Katie Hector, Tomo Mori and Jean Rim,
“Self Alive” remains on view through Spring 2019 at The Yard, South Williamsburg. Drawing from themes of self-expression, “Self Alive” explores the beauty we can bring into the world through our relationships with those around us as expressed in a variety of artistic mediums. The exhibit is curated by Deborah Oster Pannell, curator at The Yard South Williamsburg, whose curatorial perspective is informed by decades of experience as a writer, editor, performer, director and producer. She has curated and performed at KGB Bar, Animamus Art Salon, Shag, Green Oasis Community Garden, Chinatown Soup, The Red Room at KGB, UNDER St. Marks Theater and JCC Harlem. Pannell currently works at C24 gallery in Chelsea, Manhattan.

“Nexus”, Tomo Mori for The Yard’s “Self Alive”

Artist Jean Rim connects disparate aspects of her Korean-American identity through her practice. She draws links to different layers of her identity with intricate patterns of shimmering, geometric compositions. A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Rim currently works in Brooklyn, NY and exhibits in South Korea and the United States. Her vibrant juxtaposition of line and color form exuberant compositions accessible to everyone, regardless of cultural background. These bright, rhythmic abstractions speak in a universal language that both astonishes and delights.

The diverse works of Tomo Mori reveal a thoughtful and labor-intensive process. Sculptural forms emerge from accumulations of discarded clothing, making reference to her labor as an artist and a mother. Hailing from Osaka, Japan, Mori studied both Western and Japanese traditional painting and drawing. Her rope installation works make explicit the important links connecting us all as human beings, across cultures, countries and social constructs.

Katie Hector, “FOMO Banner II” at “Self Alive” at The Yard

 

Katie Hector‘s work explores the inherent anxiety of modern-day life in her “FOMO” series, on view in part in “Self Alive”. An artist, curator and writer, Hector is also Founder and Co-Director of Sine Gallery. Based in New York, she received her BFA from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and has participated in numerous international exhibitions and received numerous scholarships and accolades. The “FOMO” series as a whole is based around abstracted ovals, which could reference eyes or vision. In a world in which vision is constantly facing distraction and disassociation, the self can feel distant or insecure. Hector’s abstractions aggregate multiple layers of color and painterly gesture, hinting at the social anxiety and chaos that engulfs us all.

Rooted in the search for a higher self-awareness, the meditative and enticing artworks on view in “Self Alive”  reveal a survey of contemporary color and material palettes. An incisive look into unique artists’ practices, they also comprehensively reveal a society fearlessly searching for truth in every direction.

“Self Alive” is on view through May 4, 2019 at The Yard, South Williamsburg.

 

Fresh Approaches Feature At Spring/Break 2019

Every year during Armory Fair week, a refreshing breeze traipses down the avenues, blowing past the piers from its irreverent, unsanctimonious perch. This breath of fresh air originates at Spring/Break Art Show, where emerging gallerists, independent curators and contemporary artists present installations and exhibitions centered around a proposed theme. This year’s theme, FACT AND FICTION, goes as far as to feature artist residencies and nonprofits – expanding the platform to emerging artistic voices from their “Suites” section to other presentations amassing considerably larger square footage. Situated for 2019 at 866 UN Plaza, floor 2, the fair – on view through Monday, March 11 – presents a thoughtful re-contextualization of societal constructs by channeling and filtering them through a subversive, and at times perverse, lens. Best of all, there is plenty of space for exhibits to sprawl, taking on meanings in relation to one another that were unintended even by the curators themselves!

Real Fairy Tale by Lulu Meng and Naomi Okubo, for Spring/Break Art Show 2019

For this year’s iteration, standout presentations center around revealing and concealing information, allowing fairgoers access to alternative viewpoints to their own, and imagining a world differing vastly from our current version.

For starters, Lulu Meng and Naomi Okubo‘s “Real Fairy Tale”(S8) provides a poignant and tech-loaded exploration of femininity as prescribed by the Walt Disney world princess trope. Placing identity within – and in direct contrast to – fairy tale figures such as Snow White and Cinderella allows the artists to examine their own identities while provoking visitors to reconsider theirs. Particularly rooted in a deeper exploration of feminism, ethnicity and privilege, this clever and touching re-imagination of Disney princesses touches a deep cultural nerve.

Roxanne Jackson’s “Third Eye Fuck (Devil’s Card)” for Spiritual Art Advisory

In “Spiritual Art Advisory”(E25), contemporary culture’s penchant for tarot is taken all the way to its logical conclusion in the form of an art exhibit in which each piece represents one of the 22 Major Arcana cards in the tarot deck. Curated by Sarah Potter and Caroline Larsen, the exhibit displays a wide array of artists – Roxanne Jackson‘s sculpture stuns – and proposes a reconsideration of the intersection existing between spirituality and art.

Artist and curator Vanessa Albury’s Coral Projects (E33) is presented with Albury and Tamara Weg leading the booth’s curation. Featuring artwork reflecting the diminishing state of our ocean due to climate change, works of art include a fish bowl sculpture (including fish upon purchase!) by Albury, which is on view along with sculptures reminiscent of coral. The presentation also introduces a public art project, to be installed off the coast of Jamaica: consisting of sculptures placed underwater near the shore, the project will hopefully lead to more coral growth in this tourist-prone area.

There is much to see – don’t miss the last two days, March 10&11, to check out Spring/Break’s multitude of artistic offerings at 866 UN Plaza! Tickets at the Spring/Break Art Show website.

“Taped Shut” by Rachel Lee Hovnavian, presented by Jenny Mushkin-Goldman and Jessica Davidson (E8)

 

work by Jen Dwyer as part of Anna Cone’s “A World All Her Own” (E31)
INLIQUID’s presentation for Spring/Break Art Show featuring work by Christina Massey (S9)