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)

I C O N I C: Judy Rifka’s Ionic Ironic at CORE Club through March 29th

The art world is above about the current exhibition on view at the CORE Club New York: iconic American artist Judy Rifka. A legendary member of the Lower East Side arts scene in New York City, Rifka has worked across painting and video, and this current exhibition, Ionic Ironic: Myths from the 80’s, is curated by LatchKey Gallery and features at the CORE Club now through March 29, 2019.

A seasoned artist whose earlier work featured in the memorable 1980 Times Square Show, two Whitney Museum Biennials (1975, 1983), and Documenta 7, Rifka’s approach mounts a fearless examination of everything from painting to new media, figuration to geometric abstraction. Featured in publications ranging from Artforum to the New York Times, Rifka’s work has recently received renewed attention from the art world. For Ionic Ironic: Myths from the 80’s, the artist displays works that haven’t been on view to the public since a 1988 exhibit at Brooke Alexander Gallery. Rifka’s knowledge of art history is on display in these eclectic, graphic works. Pastiched, remixed motifs ranging from classical antiquity to mid-century minimalism appear through Rifka’s History of Sculpture series – including these works on view at CORE Club.

Rifka exudes a keen grasp of line in her carefully constructed compositions. Negative space flanks sparse, emphatic, painterly lines delineating the figure. This creates a dissonance: figures feel lost from themselves, flanking the canvas but demarcated yet hidden simultaneously. Vaguely reminiscent of established graphic works such as the Matisse Cut-Outs, Rifka’s energetic lines and muted tones combine to exuberant effect in these thoroughly contemporary-feeling artworks.

Hierarchies dissolve across the picture plane in Ionic Ironic: Myths from the 80’swith shapes colliding and ricocheting across the canvas. Iconographies dissolve into mythic status with recurring motifs and shapes juxtaposing against flat swaths of color in methods recalling De Stijl legend Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie. Rhythm and line jostle for the viewer’s attention, creating a complex yet ultimately rewarding composition. Rifka’s works seduce, beguiling visitors over time – multiple viewings continue to reward the viewer with something previously undiscovered. Somehow both complex yet reassuringly straightforward, works by Judy Rifka evade easy categorization.

 

 

A contemporary of art world luminaries such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Rifka remains ahead of her time in her keen, insightful approach to artmaking. Unafraid of juxtaposition and provocation, the artist continues to innovate as she continues working in a multi-disciplinary style in her artistic practice. Most recently treated to a retrospective of her long-spanning practice at the Jean-Paul Najar Foundation in Dubai, Rifka continues to mount more visible exhibitions of her work. The art world continues to delight in rediscovering her work, as her dedication to probing the boundaries of possibility across figure and line result in artwork so fresh and vibrant that it seems to belong to the future.

For more information on the exhibition, visit here. Ionic Ironic: Myths from the 80’s is open to the public by request: please contact info@latchkeygallery.com.

The Thrill of Trill Matrix at The Abrazo Interno Gallery, Clemente Soto Vélez Center

Occasionally an art exhibit meets a space perfectly suited to its concept;  this is happily the case with Trill Matrixon view through Jan 19th at the Abrazo Interno Gallery, Clemente Soto Vélez Center. Trill Matrix, conceived as a site-specific exhibit for the Center, is curated by artist Elizabeth Riley and features works by contemporary artists Nancy Baker, Jaynie Crimmins, Christina Massey, Elizabeth Riley, Christine Romanell, Linda K. Schmidt and Etty Yaniv. These artists frequently exhibit collectively: while each is firmly rooted in their own unique artistic practice, their dialogues and discussion form interstices linking the works on view in Trill Matrix. Showcasing a blend of sculpture, mixed media, and installation works, Trill Matrix showcases ways in which contemporary art can tease our senses. From texture to color, volume to light, Trill Matrix teases aspects of reality into new, uncharted territory for all who visit. On view at the The Abrazo Interno Gallery (107 Suffolk Street) through January 19, make sure to visit during the show’s final days – if you can, catch the closing party on Sat, 1/19! Free and open to the public – come and celebrate art while also celebrating the network of women artists behind the works, a perfect way to close out the Women’s March events in NYC!

 

christina_massey_crafty collusion 2
Christina Massey, “Crafty Collusion 2” on view in Trill Matrix.

 

elizabeth-riley_prototype-2-canopy_detail (1)
Elizabeth Riley, “Prototype 2 – Canopy” on view in Trill Matrix.

In Trill Matrix, “trill” alludes to a moment in hip-hop culture where the words “true” and “real” blended together to suggest authenticity and cultural ascendancy. Playing off this idea of reconciling two distinct words, artists on view in the exhibit remix disparate mediums to form new hybrids. Strips of fabric gathered together form a soft-sculpture-turned-light-installation, while works composed of glass and aluminum fragments hold court with another work re-claiming electronic wires and plastic into a single immersive sculpture. The network these works forms invites closer inspection, often bringing the visitor to realize a greater understanding of the beauty that lies in waste.

Christina Massey is one of the exhibiting artists whose works present the meeting point of upcycled materials and careful composition. The artist’s Crafty Collusions series brings together fragments from upcycled craft beer cans with a blend of other materials, cleverly juxtaposing the male-dominated industry of craft beer with the “femininity” of crafting. Massey reflected on the work involved in bridging the gaps while making mixed media artworks. “The materials in themselves bring certain complications, where one material doesn’t easily adhere to another,” noted Massey. “A certain amount of experimentation has to be done to find the right glues, mixture of paint, thickness of thread, etc., but I love that experimentation, that’s where you discover new things that maybe you didn’t realize were a possibility. That can be very freeing…  just allowing yourself to manipulate, play and learn, admitting that the material is going to have a certain mind of its own.”

Elizabeth Riley‘s artwork, “Prototype 2 – Canopy”, slows down new media by imprinting video stills onto paper and fusing these frozen scenes with aluminum, paint and duralar, a form of acetate. Fusing different modes of representation and interpretation, Riley questions our subjective experience of reality – whether through new means of looking and questioning or by forcing the viewer to re-think what they are observing in her mixed-media works.

Artist Jaynie Crimmins similarly plays with both ideas around reality depicted through material and notions attached to craft. The artist shreds promotional mail she receives – catalogs, flyers, etc – into minute pieces that she then re-arranges into abstract geometric compositions. Reminiscent of the cardinal directions and visually capturing a format found in the most ancient cultures, Crimmins compiles works with muted color tones and fantastic textures to witness that one woman’s trash can become the world’s treasure.

jaynie-crimmins_a-field-guide-to-getting-lost-#7
Jaynie Crimmins, “A Field Guide to Getting Lost#7” on view in Trill Matrix.
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Linda K. Schmidt, “Panels 50+51+52+53” on view in Trill Matrix.

Linda K. Schmidt‘s work embodies another style of geometric abstraction, with strips of semi-sheer fabrics in block colors meticulously arranged to form striped patterns. Evoking stained glass windows or dress-making patterns, Schmidt brings color field painting and craft together in one transcendental visual form. Suspended from the floor, larger than life size, these installations induce a sense of wonder in visitors encountering her installations at Trill Matrix.

Works by Nancy Baker display a skillful assimilation of sublimation into striking visual compositions. Recalling networks of neurons, or perhaps a private eye’s visuals connecting elements of an investigation,  Baker’s installation for Trill Matrix ventures as many layers deep as the visitor is willing to explore. A New Yorker by birth, Baker also plays off the idea of linked infrastructure such as that found in the NYC subway; yet, her compositions incorporate found language indicating our current social anxiety and uncertainty.

 

Nancy Baker, “Shredded Cold Victory” (detail image), on view in Trill Matrix.
Christine Romanell, “Dah Noqte” on view in Trill Matrix.

Artist Etty Yaniv plays with color and texture to reference abstracted nature through sublimely arranging upcycled materials into organic, yet repetitive, patterns. Blending networks of cords and cables into fragments of materials from discarded paintings and used plastic, Yaniv draws out the inherent beauty of detritus. Her work plays with notions related to unity and disparity, tracing harmony and dissonance through her playful use of scale and masterful composition.

Christine Romanell‘s work brings mathematical formulae and data analysis into the visual arts sphere. Applying color to patterns derived through mathematical equations, yet identifying where math also traverses organic and non-repetitive functions, Romanell’s installations make visual the corners of rationale and analysis where making sense begins to break down: with beautiful results.

Don’t miss the final days of Trill Matrix! Make sure to witness for yourself this stunning survey of the possibilities present within a mindful collection of connected yet disparate mixed media artistic practices.

On the Road Series Debut Stuns at Jenkins Johnson Gallery

Vertiginous folds of fabric climb in an ambitious ascent, weaving the identity of its creator into every stitch. Basil Kincaid’s voluminous “Love As Patient As the Hillside” (2018) anchors Jenkins Johnson’s spacious first-floor gallery space for “On the Road: Caroline Kent, Basil Kincaid and Esau McGhee”. Curated by Larry Ossei-Mensah, this exhibition, on view through Jan 12, marks the first installment in the exhibition series by the curator. Referencing Jack Kerouac’s influential On the Road, Ossei-Mensah applies the concept of documenting a cross-country journey toward charting the contemporary African-American experience – beginning here with a specific lens on the Midwest. The cohort of artists on view in Jenkins Johnson’s debut “On the Road” work in St. Louis and Chicago, and have lived in and worked throughout the region.

Works by Basil Kincaid including “Love As Patient As the Hillside” (2018) (on right) Courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Projects

“Approaching Kerouac’s On the Road, on this cross-country art journey I found myself asking: where are the black and brown bodies?” Ossei-Mensah, Senior Curator at Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit (MOCAD), reflects on his curatorial approach leading up to “On The Road”. In introducing the exhibit and its artists, he mentions being inspired by works by Derrick Adams and Ebony G. Patterson who exalt black bodies, portraying these figures in states of leisure and celebration. These scenes recurred to the curator as he initially viewed works by St. Louis-based Basil Kincaid. Standing in front of Kincaid’s portraits of a picnic, family members relaxing on the grass in the sun on the same quilt on view in “On the Road”, Ossei-Mensah recounts Kincaid’s emphasis on incorporating his family’s history and his own personal memories into these quilted works. This soft sculpture anchors the space, the folds of the fabric softly outlining an absent human figure, anticipating the edges of a subtle form. Kincaid’s works both reveal and conceal the human form and memories, his own and those in his immediate social circle. “Kincaid creates quilted works as portraits of his own family and markers of memory, and his collages and drawings taken in consideration alongside these quilted works express a variety of modalities. It’s important for audiences to be exposed to the breadth of his practice,” Ossei-Mensah elaborates.

Works by Esau McGhee (L and R) flank a work by Basil Kincaid (Center) for “On the Road”, Courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Projects

Nearby mixed-media works masterfully contort inside their custom-built frames, wrestling against the weight of anticipated right angles with their calculated curves and bends. Wooden frames and compositions both bear witness the masterful range of Chicago-based Esau McGhee‘s practice. Working from his studio in East Garfield Park, McGhee takes his initial training in photography through the filter of working as a street artist to construct complex compositions, some with a graffiti mark-making tool, in vivid patterns and hues. Applying an intimate repetition of found pattern, McGhee combines a balanced approach to construction and composition to exquisite effect. These collages flatten notions of ownership: referencing found imagery as a diagram of public space, McGhee integrates patterns, colors and printed materials found within the mass-produced and the everyday. McGhee observes, “This collective experience that we all share with public spaces… it’s not my space, it’s not your space, it’s really ours: it’s going through an evolution as dictated by us.”

“Summer Love” (2018) and “Star Gazing” (2018) by Basil Kincaid, Courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Projects

Approaching Jenkins Johnson’s lower gallery space, Ossei-Mensah expounds on his initial approach when formulating this inaugural iteration of “On the Road”. “As a curator, it’s key to find ways to challenge myself to not subscribe to a particular style,” reflects Ossei-Mensah. We take a moment to gaze around at the show before he continues, “As a project space and commercial gallery, Jenkins Johnson is the perfect place to mount “On the Road” – I’m thankful that they were willing to take a risk on a show of artists whose work audiences here may have never encountered, providing a platform for these artists in an accessible, domestic space where diverse audiences can feel a sense of belonging.”

Ruminating on the importance of crafting inter-regional dialogues with diverse artists whose work may not (yet) be featured on Artforum or headlining Christie’s auctions, Ossei-Mensah presents a measured viewpoint on why he began this series with Midwestern artists. In addition to his role building a platform for artists from across the region (and the US) at MOCAD in Detroit, he observes the area is full of sometimes overlooked talent. “Artists in the Midwest are making interesting work, and can be diamonds in the rough whose work merits new platforms. These are artists whose work shouldn’t lie undiscovered: there is a narrative guiding each artist’s body of work. These artists are all committed to their practice – what they will produce next will be truly remarkable.”

“To Summon the Objects in the Room, Pt. 2” (2018) and “Alterior Motives” (2018) by Caroline Kent Courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Projects

The final gallery yields exquisite works by artist Caroline Kent, whose work spans text and abstraction. Ossei-Mensah identifies what first caught his eye about her abstract works: the forms placed within a black ground. “Using a black ground in these works asserts her position,” notes Ossei-Mensah. Our conversation centers on the relative dearth of black women artists working in abstraction, and how by foregrounding these works within a black space the artist subtly re-orients the context of these compositions. Meanwhile, two text-based pieces nearby include the artist’s own written work, placed in dialogue with monochrome hues of paint created by the artist’s finger marks. Aspects of Kent’s identity intermingle in these works, while her larger abstract compositions evoke disparate actions and forms. Taken comprehensively, Kent’s body of work absorbs a multitude of influences while incorporating her own precise palette: what Ossei-Mensah refers to as a “a pictorial index she sees built into the world of gestures around her.” We stop in front of two works by Kent, “Carmicheal and Eloise” (2016) and “I Would Call…,” (2016), before Ossei-Mensah continues.  “Kent’s work demonstrates her commitment to pushing the limits of abstract language, with her focus on building a syntax and toolbox: a reservoir of forms and colors placed upon a black ground. When taken in context with her text-based works there exists a variety of aspects in her practice, a remarkable plurality.”

Reflecting on Kent’s practice, Ossei-Mensah inadvertently observes the power propelling “On the Road” forward. “This work pushes the visual language to its breaking point,” he observes. Works on view by Kincaid, Kent and McGhee push the envelope, breaking boundaries across mediums in a well-balanced survey of formidable contemporary artists living and working in the Midwest.

 

The Lure of “Color Matters” at Galerie Richard

(cover image, artworks by Jamie Martinez for “Color Matters” at Galerie Richard on view through Nov 17)

 

Color Matters, a group exhibit featuring seven artists on view at Galerie Richard through November 17, presents a detailed exploration of contemporary artists’ use of color. A fascinating juxtaposition of color expressed in both analog and digital artworks, Color Matters includes masterful explorations of color by artists Koen Delaere, Dennis Hollingsworth, Kim Young-Hun, Jamie Martinez, Noriko Mizokawa, Carl Fudge and Joseph Nechvatal. The exhibit continues a dialogue initiated by the art critic Saul Ostrow-curated summer show, Position Matters. Spanning a range of cultural and stylistic approaches to color, these artists are re-defining how color impacts composition in the contemporary moment.

Gallery view, Color Matters at Galerie Richard

Combining multiple mediums including ink, oil and digital printing methods, the artworks on view converse in a wide lexicon reflecting the present moment in art-making. The show is introduced with works by Kim Young-Hun and Dennis Hollingsworth, flanking the front of the gallery space. Evincing a painterly approach, Young-Hun’s work balances a delicate sense of line with a post-abstract style expressed through the traditional Korean method of painting known as Hyukpil. In contrast, Hollingsworth mounts his oil paints onto the canvas or onto supports attached to canvas by sculpting the medium onto the surface. This juxtaposition of works charts the use of color on a global and chronological scale, particularly when one considers that these artists perfected their practice in the interstitial period between analog and digital art.

Works by Koen Delaere, Color Matters at Galerie Richard

The vibrant underpinnings in Carl Fudge and Jamie Martinez’ digital paintings continue the theme of contrast appearing throughout the exhibition. Both artists evoke a graphic sensibility in the exhibition: Fudge’s screen prints trace a subtle gradient of color, marking individual artworks within a cohesive new body of work. Martinez similarly presents a graphic, geometric sensibility in his compositions. The artist’s formulation of his digital paintings in accordance with his principle of Triangulation, composing his paintings of various triangles. The dynamic effect this exudes throughout the artist’s works are palpable, with compositions seeming to leap from the surface of the works. Martinez mastery of his craft is evident in the expert balance between line and color defining the artist’s practice.

works by Noriko Mizokawa, Color Matters at Galerie Richard

Works by Joseph Nechvatal, Noriko Mizokawa and Koen Delaere complete the exhibit. Nechvatal’s works reflect a targeted approach to color, as each hue reflects tones found throughout the human body. Brown, orange and pink shades permeate the artist’s digital paintings and allow an intimate means of experiencing the figure through a nuanced, abstract perspective. Koen Delaere allows color to infiltrate his scattered pattern of lines, with neutral tones and bright hues alike seemingly dancing across the surface of his paintings. Mizokawa draws from a homogeneous lexicon of forms: her organic shapes and dots similarly arrange themselves across the surface of all of her works. The artists range of color from bright hues to pastel tones articulates the unique approach she mounts in creating each unique artwork. Congruent yet surprising, Mizokawa’s compositions delight both long-standing fans of the artist’s work and those new to her practice.

Color Matters is on view at Galerie Richard, located at 121 Orchard Street on New York’s Lower East Side, through November 17. Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am-7pm and Sunday 12pm-6pm.

 

 

Art in Odd Places 2018: BODY, Towards Renewed Public Autonomy

(feature image photo by Meg Stein)

For 14 years, odd happenings have stretched out across the 14th street corridor in Manhattan, NY. Artists, designers, dancers, performers and creators have created ephemeral experiences to engage passersby for Art in Odd Places since 2005, when Founder/Artist Ed Woodham envisioned the festival as a means to reclaim public space by the same creative set continually forced out of New York City apartments by rising rents and luxury condos. The festival continues with its 14th iteration, BODY, from October 11-14 on 14th Street (Ave C to Hudson River) and – for the first year ever – in a gallery, at Westbeth gallery space Oct 4-27.

Unseen/Reclaimed Exhibition view, photo Walter Wlodarczyk

This year’s festival curator, Katya Grokhovsky, proudly emphasizes this additional space as necessary to give increased exposure for this year’s participating artists: artists who, for the first time in AiOP’s history, solely encompass feminist collectives, fem-identifying and non-binary artists with the theme, BODY. “AiOP BODY centers around the agency, autonomy and visibility of the female – identified and non-binary body in the public space and the urban environment,” notes Grokhovsky. “Both the exhibition and the festival include works which utilize humor, absurdity, gesture, actions, performance and various media and materials to explore the notion of the body as a site, as a particular battleground, especially poignant in our political climate.”

Participating artists in this year’s festival include Jessica Elaine Blinkhorn, LuLu LoLo,  Elaine Angelopoulos, Deborah Castillo, Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, Esther Neff, Amy Finkbeiner and Christen Clifford of No Wave Performance Task Force, Nicole Goodwin, Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow, Dakota Gearheart, and many, many more. Projects range from Jody Oberfelder’s poignant Madame Ovary, which incorporates a safe space for discussing the body as site for agency, intuition, and birth; Yali Romagoza‘s Meditating my way out of Capitalism and Communism. 12410 days of Isolation, investigating traumas, displacement and the immigrant experience.

Yali Romagoza for Art in Odd Places (image by Katya Grokhovsky)
In a time when average rents for an apartment along the Art in Odd Places festival route costs upwards of $4k/month, according to RentCafe’, the need for visible and creative public art is more dire than ever. Particularly important in a social climate denigrating and ignoring women’s voices, such as our current moment in the wake of governmental actions such as the Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation, AiOP 2018: BODY is here to remind us that women’s voices – and agency – always matter.
Art in Odd Places 2018: BODY public street festival takes place Oct 11-14, 2018 along 14th street from the Hudson River east to Ave C.
Art in Odd Places 2018: BODY exhibition, Unseen/Reclaimed, takes place at Westbeth Gallery from Oct 4-27, 2018. Public programs forthcoming, including a panel on the body & public art takes place on Oct 18th, 6-8 pm with closing festivities on Oct 27th. Gallery hours are from 12 pm – 6 pm, Tues-Sat.