Last Wash at Midnight Cleans House: Exhibition Review, The Border Project Space/ Home Gallery

Don’t lose your socks in the dryer when you’re digging around for your next favorite artist at The Border Project Space’s “Last Wash at Midnight,” featuring artists Chelsea Nader, Jaejoon Jang, Nicholas Oh and Jamie Martinez – with a companion exhibit also on view at Home Gallery, located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. While there’s a closing reception at Home Gallery taking place on March 14, 5-8 pm at 291 Grand Street, NYC, the show has been extended at the Border Project Space with a closing reception there on March 20th, 6-8 pm. Guests can attend a “Final Spin Performance” on March 20th, at 7 Pm featuring Ronit Levin Delgado with David Chalet and Gabriel Garcia.

Since the exhibition has been extended through March 20th, 2021, make sure to set aside time to go check out the space (and check in on their hours via their Instagram – @the_border_project_space on IG.) The exhibit employs some tongue-in-cheek wordplay around the idea of art being incorporated into everyday life – and vice versa – a la the city’s laundromats: a ubiquitous presence around the five boroughs. Sculpture, installations, hybrid ready-mades and more confront the visitor to the puzzling yet provocative exhibit, with its cousin at Lower East Side’s Home Gallery offering its own delightful take on the show’s theme with an “advertisement” complete with faux quotes, faux-n numbers and more delectables.

“Last Wash At Midnight: Advertisement” at Home Gallery, 291 Grand Street (on view through March 14th. Image courtesy the galleries.)

In the words of Curator and The Border Project Space Director, Jamie Martinez, the exhibition at the Border allows a space to emerge where, “things don’t appear as they seem, but things, once unseen, begin to appear.” This quixotic phrasing makes the most sense when re-read at the doorway of the gallery itself, before engaging with the delightful, if deliciously manic, presentation of human torsos and limbs, clothing fragments, and laundry paraphernalia present within the space. A space for reflection on the types of abstract thoughts one might begin to descend into when waiting for the second round of heavy linens in the dryer, works in “Last Wash at Midnight” confound, delight and exceed expectations upon closer inspection.

Above, installation by Chelsea Nader. Below, “Permission” by Jamie Martinez. Both included in “Last Wash at Midnight.” Image courtesy the artists and gallery.

Much like the lint that continually clings to a pair of just-dried socks, a strangely comforting smell envelopes the visitor to the space upon encountering the exhibition. If you ask the curator, you’ll find out this is the smell of laundry detergent (is it for sale?) just out of view in the gallery, complementing the show’s sudsy sensibilities. This lingers as a filter just out of reach for gallery guests perusing installations on view in dialogue with one another in multi-sensory and syncretic ways – Nicholas Oh’s floating amalgamation of upturned male human torsos just off center from the gallery’s entrance provides the expected ‘figurative’ element in an oh-so-unexpected way, as the viewer begins to admire the curvature of this installation unfolding toward the floor. Oh’s use of a range of skin tones of each torso becomes readily apparent as the artist draws from his Korean heritage to question cultural values and challenge systemic oppression. Directly opposite, in the line of sight of this composite topsy-turvy figure, a recreation of a washing machine lurks: figurative, yet surreal. Chelsea Nader’s trippy laundry ‘machines’ bring up domestic labor in a exhibit where artists are referred to as “night shift workers” and the curator, as “the manager.” Labor is intrinsic to the art world, with artists and creatives often working overtime to be able to afford the materials and space to create their work. Nader taps into the labor that women, in particular, are expected to perform: her sign/signifier style of presentation only reinforces the existing gulf between unrealistic expectations and reality. Nader’s work centers the space in a poignant alternate reality for the visitor.

Installation view, “Last Wash at Midnight” at The Border Project Space (on view through March 20th, 2021. Image courtesy the galleries.)

Jamie Martinez, the night shift “Manager” exhibition curator and exhibiting artist, presents “Metamorphosing into an Owl”: the owl serves as a harbinger of death, being the first to notice death’s approach in Native American traditions, and Martinez is reflecting on this journey through the underworld, with a plea to native spirits he trusts to guide him on his journey after death. Martinez’ careful treatment of his material and attention to detail heighten the sense of psychological weight approached in these themes.

Finally, Jaejoon Jang’s works on view in both exhibits are both immediate and subtle. Material lends itself toward veiled references while the subject matter is straightforward, questioning reality and the limits of our understanding of what surrounds us. His subversive works are both humorous and nuanced, forcing a reconsideration of what we take for granted. Finally, Home Gallery presents a suite of works by these artists, curated and presented by Jamie Martinez in partnership with Home gallery’s Director William Chan, in dialogue with appearances – and how they can be deceiving, and/or invite further reflection. Chan notes of Home gallery’s unique street-facing presence that, “in a normal week, the window attracts hundreds of unique interactions among the thousands of passersby. I often have people come up to me and tell me how excited they were when a new exhibition comes out. People who wouldn’t go to museums or galleries. I hope to see more window galleries, especially after the pandemic, and more of these conversations.” A faux advertisment for a real show is certainly a compelling reason to reconsider where, and how, the boundary lines of art are drawn and how challenging – and rewarding – art can be when society is re-imagining new futures for a vibrant culture.

Don’t miss your chance to see “Last Wash at Midnight” at The Border Project Space, 56 Bogart Street, up through March 20th. The Lower East Side “Advertisement” portion of exhibit will remain on view at Home Gallery, 291 Grand Street through Sunday, March 14th – and hey, if you can’t make that, photographer/ videographer Andrew Littlefield made this dope video experience of encountering “Last Wash at Midnight” on its opening night at Home gallery.

Close-up of sculpture work by Nicholas Oh, “Last Wash at Midnight” at Home Gallery on the LES

Prescient Presence: Your Presence is Requested Opens Thursday, June 28 at 131 Chrystie Street

 

Solitude and displacement rub elbows on the confluence of the fault lines defining Your Presence is Requested. This group exhibition, featuring painting, sculpture, mixed media and more, investigates the presence of self both internally, physically and even in the case of absence: the vestiges of self that can linger in the outlines of landscapes, or in abstracted self-portraits. Opening on Thursday, June 28th from 6-9 pm, the exhibit is housed at 131 Chrystie Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood. The exhibit features artists Maria Dimanshtein, Juan Miguel Palacios, Vincent Arcilesi, Arlene Rush, Grace Baxter, India Evans, Junichiro Ishida, Suyeon Na and many more. The exhibition is produced by Arcilesi | Homberg Fine Art in partnership with Maria Dimanshtein.

Aptly identifying and probing the span of narratives that connect figuration and abstraction, the exhibit applies a careful lens to the both constructed and candid depictions of self. One can identify with an event, an object, a location or a particular viewpoint of one’s own persona. Emotional and psychological perspectives are firmly entrenched in the various aspects that artists choose to portray in this insightful group exhibition, on view June 28-30 only (hours 11 am-6 pm on Friday/Saturday.) This exhibit evinces a rare comprehensive look at the range of artistic stylings and approaches in both visioning and re-visioning the self as beginning and end, alpha and omega. Nothing can influence one’s own outlook as much as the mysterious psyche, the hidden depths of self that remain necessarily unable to reveal yet reveling in their surroundings. From the cryptic depictions of Twins by Arlene Rush, to Palacios’ lush, painterly portraiture and Arcilesi’s multi-hued figures situated in ambiguous space, the range of artwork on view is sure to delight any collector.

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Artwork by Vincent Arcilesi

At times alternately introspective and extroverted, the works on view vary widely in style and subject matter while intrinsically examining the parameters of self. Artist Maria Dimanshtein notes that her works include… “use dark colors along with white ink and shiny textures to incorporate my poetic writing into my visual [art].” Dimanshtein notes that her art probes many subjects, including, “anxiety of freedom vs. comfort of the mundane [and] a yearning for a divine power.” The works prove as impactful as their meanings are elusive, with the artists mostly monotone compositions combining with text to provoke dizzying and at times discomfiting narratives.  .

With works by over twenty artists on view in Your Presence is Requested, Arcilesi | Homberg has assembled a dazzling breadth of viewpoints examining the human psyche. On view for three days only, this not-to-be-missed exhibit connects the threads of self-examination present in the works of world-renowned artists working across the spectrum of contemporary art practices.  Arcilesi | Homberg sees their focus as forging innovative pathways in the world of contemporary art, noting that they “challenge conventional fine art parameters”. Your Presence is Requested goes a long way to showcase these efforts.

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Artwork by Maria Dimanshtein

 

The exhibition opening on Thursday, June 28 from 6-9 pm features music compliments of DJ Danny Glover along with wine. The exhibit at 131 Chrystie is in the heart of Manhattan’s buzzy Lower East Side gallery district, easily accessible from the J/Z trains at Bowery station or the 6 train at Spring Street.  The artwork on view spans a variety of artistic mediums, and artists will be available in person to discuss their works and specific processes.

For additional questions, concerns and for extra visuals please contact Francesca Arcilesi (francesca@aha-fineart.com), Norma Homberg (norma@aha-fineart.com) or Maria Dimanshtein (mdimanshtein@gmail.com)

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Artwork by Juan Miguel Palacios