Whether We Dance or Not

Liz Jaff is a Bushwick based artist who has rigorously explored the structural and aesthetic possibilities in ephemeral materials, specifically paper. AIB interviewed Jaff about her work process, her development as an artist, and the genesis of her current show at Robert Henry Contemporary.

Liz Jaff , Plugs and Fuses, 3rd Iteration at Montserrat College of Art, Photo Courtesy Liz Jaff
Liz Jaff , Plugs and Fuses, 3rd Iteration at Montserrat College of Art, Photo Courtesy Liz Jaff

AIB: Tell me about your affiliation to Bushwick.

Liz Jaff: I moved my studio to Bushwick early in 2014.  I had been splitting my time between New York City and Southampton, NY and was beginning to prepare for a show with Robert Henry Contemporary.  The gallery and I agreed it would work well to be close by. My studio is part of Brooklyn Brush studios, a supportive environment- clean and quiet- with the most exceptional people who run and maintain it.

AIB: “Wallflower”, your current show at Robert Henry Contemporary features a recent body of work. Altogether I see your drawings and installation in the gallery as a meditative space with dark undertones, as if the emotional undercurrents that have always existed in your work are gushing into the surface. This brings to my mind Freudian terms and some political context—are you thinking along these lines? Tell me about the relationship between this body of work and your previous work.

Liz Jaff: When I close the studio door, and am by myself, the freshest, most authentic place to go is inward.  I would be happy if some of that feeling of contemplation carries over into how the work exists in the gallery.  Most of what I do starts from a deeply personal place. I then set up a physical structure within which my thoughts and ideas can live in a physical one.  With the Wallflower works, I have let some of the formality drop away.  It was necessary here partially because of the less controlled process of making the Black Magic drawings.  In my previous installations, I took my experience from one place and distilled it down to a simple unit or form which can then be repeated, installed, and used to create a new space.  It is left to the viewer to interpret; to find their own experience. Having the opportunity to watch people interact with past works, I recognize that the objects or installations find their own unique relationship with the world.  With “Wallflower”, I wanted the works to be performers of sorts, and I step away no longer a part of the party, so to speak.  Showing the work is an opportunity to be generous and I hope it can offer a moment of reprieve from some of the anxiety and stress of recent events.

Liz Jaff , Plugs and Fuses (detail), 3rd Iteration at Montserrat College of Art, Photo Courtesy Liz Jaff
Liz Jaff , Plugs and Fuses (detail), 3rd Iteration at Montserrat College of Art, Photo Courtesy Liz Jaff
Liz Jaff , Wallflower, detail of Heartbreaker, ink, plastic bottles and tubing, Aquasol, dimensions variable, 2017, Photo Courtesy Paul Takeuchi
Liz Jaff , Wallflower, detail of Heartbreaker, ink, plastic bottles and tubing, Aquasol, dimensions variable, 2017, Photo Courtesy Paul Takeuchi
Liz Jaff , Wallflower Installation view with Black Magic drawings, ink on paper, 84” x 45” each, 2017, Photo Courtesy Paul Takeuchi
Liz Jaff , Wallflower Installation view with Black Magic drawings, ink on paper, 84” x 45” each, 2017, Photo Courtesy Paul Takeuchi

AIB: Tell me more about “Wallflower”. I am curious to know more about the dripping ink installation and how it relates to the drawings on the wall.

Liz Jaff: “Wallflower” includes a group of ink drawings called “Black Magic”, and an apparatus/sculptural object called “Heartbreaker”.  The Black Magics are an evolution of a practice I have had in my studio for more than fifteen years.  A lot of my work is slow and repetitive to make, but the ink on paper is fast and less predictable.  The drawings have become larger and more high contrast than in the past and are influenced, among other things, by Flamenco and Butoh performance, which I enjoy quite a bit.  The drawings feel as if something is recorded in motion and we do not know at what stage.  Time is captured for an instance.  Together the group references film strips or photographic contact sheets, and suggests documenting a larger motion or action.  I wanted to combine these with something that could happen very slowly in the gallery, bringing together a record of something fast with that of something unraveling in front of you.  These two notions of time suggest longing and a desire to remember and sustain certain moments.

AIB: You reference in your work ideas of love and sacrifice, commitment, time and space. Can you elaborate on that?

Liz Jaff: Love is so good.  I think we all want to sustain it.  Sacrifice and commitment are longer, slower ideas, which require a different kind of patience and time.  I think it is important to find visual ways to talk about all of them, give a feeling of their own character and how we experience it.  I think I could find a lot of ways to talk about this for a long time.

Liz Jaff , Snitch, (exhibited at Volta NY), hand cut paper, 19 ½” x 12 ½”, 2016, Photo Courtesy Paul Takeuchi
Liz Jaff , Snitch, (exhibited at Volta NY), hand cut paper, 19 ½” x 12 ½”, 2016, Photo Courtesy Paul Takeuchi
Liz Jaff , Big Black Venus, (exhibited at Volta NY), ink on hand cut paper, 87” x 46”, 2016, Photo Courtesy Paul Takeuchi
Liz Jaff: artwork photographed at her studio in Bushwick.

AIB: You are coming from painting (RISD). How do you see your work in relationship to painting?

Liz Jaff: I liked painting but I do not think I communicated well in paint.  When I reached a place where I began to know what was important for me to talk about, I realized the language I was using was not working.  So I changed it. When I speak with friends who are painters, there seems to be a relationship to how we talk about space and ideas, but not specifically to medium.

AIB: Where do you see your work in context of minimalists like Sol Lewitt and Agnes Martin?

Liz Jaff: Well, they both have simultaneously underlying and visible structures.  For them it may often be a geometric grid. For me it is the circle used in repetition. I see Lewitt as being grounded to the floor and architecture, while Martin found all the spaces in between.  I think I am looking for a balance of both.  I am acutely aware of many of the lessons from other artists, and often like to reference these quietly in the work.

AIB: It seems that your preferred medium is paper. Tell me about the genesis of that fascination and how do you see it in relation to traditional origami?

Liz Jaff: Using paper came from necessity and realizing that the how and the what of the work needed to be the same.  I wanted something that could exist as a two dimensional plane and also be manipulated to define three dimensional spaces.  It needed to suggest something ephemeral and basic, or fundamental.   Paper has a great range of structural and aesthetic possibilities.  My first large scale installations were conceived first in a hotel room and then on a folding table in a small studio apartment. Paper was light weight and the forms could be folded and stored away easily. When some other material speaks more effectively, then I will use it. Origami has its own particular rules and complexities very different from my own.  I purposely avoid it as to find my own way into using the materials.

AIB: Tell me about your process. (how do you come up with compositions, are you drawing on narrative-emotion-event, etc. your technique)

Liz Jaff: I often start with a basic feeling or sensation of something – an experience, a place, a person. I think about where it came from.  It is pretty simple.  This takes me on a daydream of storytelling, creating a kind of personal narrative.  I then envision formally what I think would resonate with the viewer physically and visually.  There is usually research at this point. The idea takes form and goes on a journey.  I like to use fast and slow processes depending on my mindset balancing activities which require more quiet focus with those that are executed more immediately.

Liz Jaff , Wallflower Installation view, Photo Courtesy Paul Takeuchi
Liz Jaff , Wallflower Installation view, Photo Courtesy Paul Takeuchi

AIB: You have the most intriguing titles. I am curious to know if you see the title as a poetic counterpoint to your visual syntax; are they meant to be a challenging clue; or maybe both?

Liz Jaff: Language is a remarkable thing both visually and verbally.  I like to play with the interaction of the two and titles are a great way to do this.  Poets are so good at this.  I like words with multiple meanings, which suggest an action or motion.  Some titles are quite literal to my experience, while some are more encoded and less obvious.  It is important to me to leave space for the viewer’s own interpretation.  Titles are often a great opportunity for humor.

AIB: What are you working on now? Would you like to share upcoming projects?

Liz Jaff: I am in the planning phase of an outdoor project to be done in Boston in the early Fall of this year and will have a solo project in Maine after that.  I am thinking about video….and sewing something for my mom.

AIB: Anything else art-related you would like me to ask?

Liz Jaff: You have asked quite a bit.   I wish there were space and time for more conversation.

Liz Jaff: Wallflower, through April 9, 2017

Robert Henry Contemporary
56 Bogart St
Brooklyn, NY 11206

 

Second Round of applause at Trans-Cen-Der

All images courtesy of the presenting artists

Trans-Cen-Der Art Group  hosted its second round of artists’ presentations at the  Temporary Storage Gallery space inside Brooklyn Fireproof. Led by Meer Musa, the presentations were engaging, and the overall atmosphere was supportive and friendly. Presenting artists: Mary DeVincentis HerzogSeth Ruggles HilerSusan Carr, Kurt Steger, Brent OwensDan RomerThomas Burr Dodd & Heidi King.
Co-hosts Tim Gowan and Sharilyn Neidhardt.
Trans-Cen-Der next event is on Tuesday, March 28th hosted by Tim Gowan.

Painter Mary DeVincentis Herzog employs in her imaginative paintings a deeply personal iconography to investigate the dilemmas and mysteries of existence. She is currently working on “Dark Matters”, a series of paintings exploring the shadow side of human experience and Sin Eaters, a series which depicts society’s saints, martyrs, scapegoats and outcasts.

 Mary DeVincentis Herzog, Spiral Safety Dance, oil on found wood, 12" x 19", 2016

Mary DeVincentis Herzog, Spiral Safety Dance, oil on found wood, 12″ x 19″, 2016

Kurt Steger’s sculpture series “Urban Structures” addresses the loss that cultures or communities experience from the destruction in this era of massive urban expansion. Steger uses this cycle of destruction as a literal foundation; each sculpture features a found piece of Bushwick concrete rubble as a base upon which he creates form-fitting abstract shapes, overall designed as a type of a sacred space that honors the memory of its foundation’s past. Although in most of the works, the structures contain an object or material, such as earth from Tibet, white sage, seeds, or notes composed as prayers, the overall  spiritual aspect remains largely open to interpretation. Steger says, “All of my work is designed to provoke contemplation about space, time, community, and man’s responsibilities to the environment. “

Kurt Steger, Urban Stupa #3
Kurt Steger, Urban Stupa #3

Susan Carr‘s favorite two words are “what if”, as they keep her practice fresh and push her ideas forward. This painter and mixed media artist is currently sculpting. She sees her three dimensional artworks as” deconstructed paintings”, since their nexus was the frame. Her playful and highly tactile sculptures include oil paint, wood, found objects, and clay. Susan is also making cartoonish drawings as a reaction to the ongoing political climate, as drawing consistently functions as the backbone of her practice.

Susan Carr, Indagadadavidapleideas
Susan Carr, Indagadadavidapleideas

Seth Ruggles Hiler is most influenced by the communities and geography of his surroundings, creating and recording connections to people and place through painting and drawing. Trained  at the New York Academy of Art, Hiler fuses a sensibility for classical painting with a contemporary take on color and composition. He says that he strives to go beyond creating likeness or surface description by expressing a momentary relationship to the subject or place, ultimately aiming to share an intimate exchange between artist, subject, viewer and community.

Seth Ruggles Hiler, Hanging in Ascension, oil on canvas 70 x 48 in

Brent Owens’ work, primarily sculptural and largely based in woodworking, fuses two disparate strains of Americana – workmanship and a thirst for novelty. Owen’s playful and seamless combination of materials, such as wood and neon for example, results in a particular strand of pop production that reads as both artificial and organic, altogether bordering on the surreal.

Brent Owens, Waving Through the Flames, 2014, wood, wire, acrylic lacquer, plug, 41″h x 20″w x 1.5″d

Dan Romer says he is fearless when he is doing his art. He is not looking to record what he sees, but rather what he feels; “life is not static, and neither is my work.” he says.

Dan Romer, Crispy Bacon, mixed media w/foil work on paper. 19" x 24"
Dan Romer, Crispy Bacon, mixed media w/foil work on paper. 19″ x 24″

Thomas Burr Dodd admits that he suffers from anxiety over his artistic abilities, yet has a very base desire to communicate this way. Sometimes at odds with this desire, Burr is also a businessman who prides himself on adding value to the world. He has developed an art-making process that allows him to leave behind the day-to-day stresses of business and embrace his creative side. He starts with a deep mindful meditation,  then draws blind while concentrating on an imagery based on deeply intimate experiences. He has benefited from being tapped into the incredible creative energies swirling around him, and is proud to be a part of the Bushwick creative community.

Thomas “Burr” Dodd , Down But Not Out, 2016, digital drawing.
Thomas “Burr” Dodd , Down But Not Out, 2016, digital drawing.

Trans-Cen-Der  Temporary Storage Gallery space inside Brooklyn Fireproof 119 Ingraham Street Brooklyn, NY 11237

Trans-cen-der, a Salubrious Push in Bushwick

On Tuesday, January 31st, on a cold winter evening, the Temporary Storage Gallery space in Brooklyn Fireproof was heated up by a lively dialogue about art. Trans-cen-der Art Group launched their first meeting, featuring six speakers: Sharilyn Neidhardt, Christopher Stout, Cibele Vieira, Tim Gowan, Luis Martin, and Meer Musa. The second meeting will take place on Feb 28th at 7PM, featuring artists including Mary DeVincentis, Thomas Burr Dodd, Heidi King, Kurt Steger, Dan Romer, Susan Carr, among others.
AIB interviewed by email the three founders of this initiative: Meer Musa, Sharilyn Neidhardt, and Tim Gowan.

Cibele Vieira, part of the series "The Thread Has a Finger" , exhibits at "We need to talk.." at Petzel gallery until February 11
Cibele Vieira, part of the series “The Thread Has a Finger” , exhibits at “We need to talk..” at Petzel gallery until February 11

AIB: What is the genesis of Trans-cen-der Art Group?

SHARILYN: Christopher Stout ran a very similar group for three years called Bushwick Arts Critique Group. The three of us all attended and/or presented at some point and found it extremely enriching. When Christopher decided to focus on running a gallery, Bushwick Arts Critique Group stopped meeting. I started bugging Christopher about re-starting the group, and eventually he relented, so long as we called it something completely different. Christopher was ridiculously supportive in putting everything together. I quickly realized that I’d need help, and Christopher put me in touch with Meer and Tim, who had also asked about getting the group going again. I had met both Meer Musa and Tim Gowan before, through Arts in Bushwick and other arts-related events. We started meeting in November for a January launch.

TIM: I received an email from Christopher Stout announcing that he was turning over the reins of BACG to Sharilyn, and extended an invitation to me to be a part this great program. What I loved about BACG is that it a community event bringing artists and other like-minded people together.

AIB:  How long have you been in Bushwick / or associated with the neighborhood?

MEER: I have been living in Bushwick since 2010 and I have started to participate as soon as I was aware of the Bushwick Art Scene, which was the following summer during Bushwick Open Studios. My main medium is painting. I have shown my paintings in Storefront Ten Eyck, David and Schweitzer Contemporary, Studio 10 and, Parenthesis Space in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

SHARILYN: I’ve lived in East Williamsburg since 2008 and have had a studio (with Cibele Vieira) at Brooklyn Fireproof since 2015. I participated in Bushwick Open Studios from 2011 and served on the Arts in Bushwick core committee in 2016. I’m a painter who has shown with David & Schweitzer, Friday Studio Gallery, and Parenthesis, among others.

TIM: I was born in Queens, grew up on Long Island. In 1999 I decided to move within the City with the intention of moving to Astoria (affordable at one time).  But, as things should turn out, I unexpectedly moved to Ridgewood.

AIB: What are you aiming to achieve in these events ?

MEER: We are aiming to have artists share their work with other artists and curators, and speak about their works in front of a supporting crowd. It is a great opportunity for artists to expose their art work to a room full of audience, build an artist community, and support one another.

SHARILYN: It’s so easy for artists to get isolated, alone in a studio setting for hours at a time. My work transformed from an engrossing hobby to a serious practice once I started painting at Brooklyn Fireproof. Suddenly there were other artists in my space looking at my work, involving me in their projects, asking for my feedback. Feeling part of a community was not only healthier for me, but moved my work forward immeasurably. Now I just want to grow and enrich that community in any way I can, hopefully providing a similar salubrious push for other artists.

TIM: Community, community, community.  There’s nothing worse than walking into a gallery opening or social event where it appears that everyone knows each other except me…painfully awkward.  And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s ever felt that way.  So with Trans-cen-der, we want to foster community and create an environment that encourages social connection.  For example, at the end of the evening, we all go out to dinner and EVERYONE is not only welcome, but encouraged to join us.

Christopher Stout, upcoming solo at Lichtundfire Gallery in the Lower East Side April 2017
Christopher Stout, upcoming solo at Lichtundfire Gallery in the Lower East Side April 2017
Luis Martin, America Is My Sister, Collage 14 x 17 inches, 2016
Luis Martin, America Is My Sister, Collage 14 x 17 inches, 2016

AIB: Are you scheduling ahead?

MEER: The next slide presentation / Art Talk will take place on Tuesday, February 28th.

SHARILYN: Current plan is to meet the last Tuesday of the month for the foreseeable future. We are taking turns putting each evening together. In addition, we will be hosting smaller side-projects. I am hosting an informal chat session for artists who want to discuss the materials and techniques they use in their art practice, it’s scheduled for Thurs Feb 16.

TIM:  Meer will host this month (February), I will host next month (March), Sharilyn will host April, and then back to Meer for the month of May.

AIB: Can artists apply, is it invitational, or both?

MEER: Artist can apply. At the moment we may have a few space left. It will be eight artists maximum. If the space gets filled, we can keep them in mind for the following event.

SHARILYN: It’s both, and it’s up to the host of the evening to decide who presents.

TIM: We strongly encourage artists to apply, and not only local artist, but artists from all over are welcome to submit their work for consideration.

AIB:  What are your criteria for presenters?

MEER: Nine minutes talk and maximum 10 jpg (RGB) images from a series.  Images need to be 72 DPI at least 15” to 18” width and however in length. Artists can send JPGS to: transcenderartgroup@gmail.com   with WeTransfer or Dropbox storage space art file link.

SHARILYN: Currently we are considering only visual art that can be conveyed in still images. We can’t support video at the moment, but that’s something we are actively looking to change in the future. I don’t want to discourage video artists, but you might have to help us with the technical details!

AIB: I assume you are all artists? Tell me briefly about your own practice and if you are involved in community activity.

MEER: I am a painter, my other practices are drawings and photography.  Besides my involvement in Trans-cen-der Art Group I helped out during the Bushwick Open Studio opening events, set up and dismantle benefit art shows.

SHARILYN: I’m a painter and I also dabble in photography and printmaking.

TIM: I’m a painter and I also play with mixed media, street and guerilla art. Over the past three years, I have volunteered for numerous events associated with Arts In Bushwick, which includes Community Day, Open Studios, and other events where I am needed.

Meer Musa, ‘Indian Eyes’
Sharilyn Neidhardt ‘I Hit a Wall (Milwaukee)’ 2016, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 in
Tim Gowan (Untitled installation view)

AIB: Tell me about the first presenters: how did you put these artists together.

SHARILYN: I thought it would be easier to curate and invite other artists if we put ourselves through the process first. It became a way to practice putting the evening together and to focus our message. We included Christopher as the creative progenitor of Trans-cen-der, and he helped us get many details in place. Cibele Vieira and Luis Martin are supportive fellow travelers well-versed in creating and maintaining art communities.

MEER: Our first presenters included the team that started Trans-Cen-Der art group. We included Christopher Stout, who started Bushwick Art Crit, Sharilyn invited her studio mate Cibele Vieira, and I invited artist Luis Martin.

AIB: Anything I did not ask and you would love to share?

MEER: My sub group for “Artists who meditate” will soon have a place to meet and speak about how their practice helps them stay centered in order to make time for creativity.

SHARILYN: Our first night of presentations was an overwhelming success! I was excited by all the people who showed up not only to be supportive on a cold winter Tuesday, but also asked pointed questions, and were eager to participate. I’d also like to mention that we are indebted to Thomas Burr Dodd and Hazel Lee Santino of Brooklyn Fireproof for not only providing a space for us, but also for guiding our organizational process. We definitely could not be without their enthusiastic support.

TIM: I also want to thank Christopher Stout, Thomas Burr Dodd, and Hazel Lee Santino for their support.

Trans-cen-der Art Group

Temporary Storage Gallery space in Brooklyn Fireproof,  119 Ingraham Street Brooklyn, NY 11237

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Underdonk, A Community Fixture

Underdonk started in 2013 as a small experimental project space and later evolved into a vibrant artist-run gallery located at 1329 Willoughby. Underdonk’s eleven members operate an ambitious exhibition program such as the notable 2015 exhibition “Paul Klee,” which featured work by twenty contemporary artists who referenced  the 20th century modernist master.  AIB interviewed Underdonk artists via email and they responded as a group:

AIB: How do you know each other?

Underdonk: Some of us are alumni of Hunter College, although at various times; a few of us met at openings or through other art channels.

AIB: How did you form the group?

Underdonk: Underdonk was founded in 2013 as a means to focus our separate curatorial interests into one sustainable project. Some of us were relatively fresh from graduate school and the gallery felt like a way to stay connected to the artistic community we had established there. Some of us have past experience working with artist- run gallery spaces, or have been otherwise involved in the Bushwick art scene. It started in the studios of some of our original Underdonk members at the 17-17 Troutman building as a small experimental project space and then later grew because of the enthusiasm that was started there into our larger space.

AIB: Where did the name come from?

Underdonk: It derives from the street name Onderdonk which is next to the Troutman building where we originated, and means under the hill in the Dutch. It’s catchy, and was the only name that stuck.

Onion by the Ocean, Group Exhibition, Installation image, 2016
Onion by the Ocean, Group Exhibition, Installation image, 2016
Sophie Grant and Jenna Westra, Right of Window, Installation image, 2015
Sophie Grant and Jenna Westra, Right of Window, Installation image, 2015

AIB: What made you chose Bushwick/Ridgewood as a hub?

Underdonk: Underdonk began at 1717 Troutman, where a few galleries like Regina Rex, and Ortega y Gassett, were also operating. Bushwick was attractive because of its open, industrial architecture, proximity to the L, and affordable rents. The last factor turned out to be unreliable, when in 2015 our landlords at 17-17 Troutman gave the boot to all of the galleries leasing space in the building. We moved to a temporary location in Williamsburg, while hunting for our current home at 1329 Willoughby.  We have found a great landlord and are lucky to again be in the vicinity of other artist-run spaces such as Transmitter, TSA, and Microscope.

AIB: Tell me about your organization and mode of operation.

Underdonk: In curatorial and administrative matters we pride ourselves on our flexibility. We accommodate and respect one another’s individual interests and scheduling constraints. That said, we meet no less than once a month, and we email all the time. Keeping membership at eleven allows each of us to curate around one show a year, with room for our annual benefit auction. That is happening soon, in late February/early March, via Paddle8. We are also always happy to hear proposals for visiting curator exhibitions, performances, and readings.

AIB: How do you see Underdonk in context of other artist groups in the area?

Underdonk: We feel that professionalism is an important aspect of what we do. For instance, we recently acquired both fine art and liability insurance. We also believe, however, that in certain spaces, like our own, professionalism can be overemphasized, to the detriment of experimentation and openness. We hope to remain broad-minded and open to new ideas, regardless of any shifts in the character of the neighborhood and New York at large.

Osamu Kobayashi, "Woogie", Solo Exhibition, Installation image, 2016

Osamu Kobayashi, “Woogie”, Solo Exhibition, Installation image, 2016

AIB: Do you share an aesthetic vision for your group and curatorial projects?

Underdonk: No, not officially! Members are unrestrained when it comes to organizing shows. Most of us turn to one another for feedback or suggestions on artists to include, so there ends up being a sense of continuity.

 Patrice Renee Washington, "Rags and Rinds", Solo Exhibition, Installation image, 2016
Patrice Renee Washington, “Rags and Rinds”, Solo Exhibition, Installation image, 2016

AIB: Do you do collaborative work?

Underdonk: We often co-curate shows, and we have participated in several exchanges with other galleries. We sometimes invite guest curators to put together shows in our space, without the exchange component. Whenever we organize large scale events, such as our annual auction, it is a huge group effort. All of this we consider as collaboration. On an individual level, many of us have collaborated with other artists outside of Underdonk.

AIB: What are your goals for the next few years?

Underdonk: One major goal is to bring more people living in the Bushwick neighborhood into the gallery, as viewers and as participating artists. We would love to be a community fixture, not just an insular art world fixture. We also hope to participate in more gallery exchanges and art fairs.

Underdonk at ESX LA, Group Exhibition, Installation image, 2015

Underdonk at ESX LA, Group Exhibition, Installation image, 2015 Underdonk artists: Aleta LanierAshley GarrettChris BertholfDanielle OrchardElisa SolivenEssye KlempnerGeorgia ElrodJJ ManfordLaura FrantzTryn CollinsNicholas Cueva

1329 Willoughby Ave #211
Brooklyn, NY 11237
L train to Jefferson St

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‘Bushwick Tales’ Exhibits Urbanism through Art and Artifact

The group show Bushwick Tales exemplifies a Bushwick urbanism while conjuring up whimsical tales.

Bushwick Tales was a gallery show curated by artist and writer Etty Yaniv, a contributor to this blog, featuring sculptures, paintings, drawings, photographs, collages and a performance the night of the opening, which was opened at 117 Grattan Street over the weekend of Bushwick Open Studios and closed October 16, 2016.

Yaniv explained that since the show took place during BOS weekend, she decided to go with a large group and diverse work. After several conversations with various artists she selected artworks from Fanny Allié, Nancy Baker, Dasha Bazanova, Noa Charuvi, Jaynie Gillman Crimmins, Ashley Garrett, Michal Gavish, Peter Gynd, Liz Jaff, Amy Mahnick, Anki King, Eliot Markell, James Prez, Evan Reehl Ryer, Bob Seng, Patricia Satterlee, Natalie Simon, Fedele SpadaforaTrish Tillman, Jeanne Tremmel, Brian Wood, Mary Ivy Martin and included one of her own. All these artists are staples in the Bushwick arts community in some way. She said she wanted to avoid a salon style exhibition and made an attempt to provide each artist a distinct presence, “opting for a mélange of sculptural work and wall work to engage the whole space.” 

Attending the invitational exhibition reminded me of morning walks through the neighborhood. One of my favorite paths takes me past the small manufacturing district along Waterbury Street then over to Newtown Creek. When the metal garage doors are open I get a glimpse into the mysterious going-ons of each business. When the doors are rolled down, it’s the remnants along the curbs, the stains on the concrete and the things stuck in the gutters that provide hints about what happens inside. For me, this show captured the industrial-urban essence that surrounds Bushwick, through forms, choice of palettes and overall aesthetics.

For instance, in The Carrier Series, the silhouettes created with black plastic bags, hand-sewn on fabric by Fanny Allié, looked like the familiar and unfamiliar figures carrying their burdens along Morgan Avenue. As you stared at these figures the feelings oscillated between lonely and heroic and then each became dark compositions that engaged one’s sense of structure. Even though pieces were static, a lenticular approach also projected the quality of breathing.

James Prez showcased several sculptures from a larger body of work called Booktures. The artifacts from these artfully composed objects could have easily been taken out of a waste bin from one of the nearby toy distribution centers. Some are fastened atop old books. All of them strike your imagination and random narratives begin to build – or memories of familiar toys, like horses and ducks, quickly flash by. Unlike the narratives implied by Prez’s work, Amy Mahnick manipulates industrial found objects, like tissue boxes and egg cartons, for their design affect. How they are situated in space is also important.     

Fanny Allié, Woman Wheel (TheCarriers), plastic bag hand-stitched onto fabric, 2014-15, 14" x 19"
Fanny Allié, Woman Wheel (TheCarriers), plastic bag hand-stitched onto fabric, 2014-15, 14″ x 19″

 

James Prez, Composites from Booktures, 2016
James Prez, partial installation view
Amy Mahnick, Quatrefoil, carryout coffee tray, 2016, 7.5”x7.5”x2”
Amy Mahnick, Quatrefoil, carryout coffee tray, 2016, 7.5”x7.5”x2”

The little ceramic creature, Misunderstood, by Dasha Bazanova lives underneath the bridge at English Kills, between Morgan and Varick Avenues. It is kind and humble and it’s main job is to bless the tiny school of silver fish that swirl in the creek so that they eventually make their way to healthier waters. Go ahead, go out there one early morning and it might grace you with its presence. Not far from Misunderstood is Pompeii on Parade #1 skiing its way down Flushing Avenue in the winter. Elliot Markell creates imaginary characters from found objects. In this piece, the anthropomorphic shape is wonderfully executed with the use of concrete, rebar, paint, old gloves and found wood.

Michal Gavish goes weird science with Nano Portraiture, creating large petri dishes that capture the biological structures of the polluted creek or the composition  that can be found in the nearby oil refinery. That’s not really the case, but it is, when your imagination is walking through Bushwick.

The day of the opening, guests passed an old Christmas tree with two brown boots popping out of the end. At first glance it looked like a prank but then you realized there was a person embedded in the tree. Mary Ivy Martin stared straight up into the sky that night while people mistook her for trash. Her performance and subsequent documentation reflects on the blurred lines between people and nature in urban environments.

Yaniv explains, “She was lying motionless on the sidewalk outside the space in pouring rain, tucked in garbage bags and a Christmas tree. It was quite amazing to see how passersby were mostly ignoring her presence, at times even throwing garbage at her (accidentally I hope).”

16.Michal Gavish, Nano portrait 2 (Protein); acrylic on fabric and paper; 2015,12" diameter (20X20 framed)
Michal Gavish, Nano portrait 2 (Protein); acrylic on fabric and paper; 2015,12″ diameter (20X20 framed)
Noa Charuvi, Rocks and Drums, oil on canvas, 2016, 14”x18”
Noa Charuvi, Rocks and Drums, oil on canvas, 2016, 14”x18”

The paintings by Noa Charuvri capture construction details, material vignettes that are ever present as a result of the rapid reshaping of the urban landscape that is happening in Bushwick. Jeanne Tremel’s sculpture-installation, “Mindful / Landfill”, deals with displacement directly. According to Yaniv, “Jeanne’s ephemeral sculpture embodies, in a poetic way, the very essence of this Bushwick tale. It’s both sad and life affirming.” It was conceived in the artist’s old studio a few blocks away, dismantled and stored when she had to leave, then re-appeared at Venus Knitting Art Space. The sculpture-installation appears to be loosely constructed with a dense amount of debris, dirt, plant material and found objects woven in an empty mattress wire structure. This metal cloud of debris is propped up approximately 24″ from the floor. Scattered below is a light layer of dirt that seems to have fallen from the cloud. 

All these works captured a kind of Bushwick urbanism. Curator Etty Yaniv further explains, “I definitely wanted to establish an underlying sense of place in this show, particularly of urban spaces such as Bushwick. In my own work I am very drawn to the idea of place and time specificity, so that is inherently part of my thought process when I am curating as well.”  

Nature Re-Imagined: Yaniv, Nakabayashi and Lukasiewicz

Sirens by Etty Yaniv (photo ©C Kirkpatrick)
Sirens by Etty Yaniv (photo ©C Kirkpatrick)

 

In The Great Wave at Kanagawa, a giant swell rises up, its spray hovering like a claw over tiny boats and clinging fishermen. Mt. Fiji, seen in the background, seems distant and small. The famous print by Hokusai shows nature at its most magnificent and most terrifying, its power far exceeding that of man.

Today the balance has shifted. Over production and pollution have spread throughout the environment. The oceans are no longer pure, the forests no longer pristine. Melting glaciers, rising seas, and mega storms threaten the earth and all forms of life as never before.

As part of the inaugural Art Walk exhibit at the Sheen Center in Manhattan, BOS ’15 artists Etty Yaniv, David Nakabayashi and Jenni Lukasiewicz address these issues, fashioning new art from the very refuse choking the planet.

 

Sirens by Etty Yaniv (photo ©Etty Yaniv)
Sirens by Etty Yaniv (photo ©Etty Yaniv)

 

In her massive installation Sirens, Yaniv uses discarded vellum, photographs, computer print out and plastic to conjure a wild and troubled seascape. Loosely inspired by The Seventh Man, a story by Haruki Murakami about a child swept off by a wave, it conveys the might and ever-shifting forms of water, as well as the debris swirling in it. The many layers and varied materials suggest the specific and the infinite, a single shore and wild, unfurling storms that threaten to engulf entire cities.

 

Sirens by Etty Yaniv, detail (photo ©C Kirkpatrick)
Sirens by Etty Yaniv, detail (photo ©C Kirkpatrick)

 

Its roiling peaks bring to mind the shifting harmonies of Debussy (whose La Mer was said to be inspired by the Hokusai print), the tempests of Turner, even the struggles of Odysseus, whose life was deeply intertwined with the sea. As, in a sense, are all human lives.

Not surprisingly, Yaniv was born in the Mediterranean city of Tel Aviv. She has a BA in Psychology and English Literature from Tel Aviv University, a BFA from Parsons School of Design, and an MFA from SUNY Purchase. With a wide-ranging sensibility, she is keenly interested in merging drawing, photography and painting into 3D environments that place the viewer halfway between the real and the imagined.

 

Sirens by Etty Yaniv, detail (photo ©C Kirkpatrick)
Sirens by Etty Yaniv, detail (photo ©C Kirkpatrick)

 

Language is also important to her, and she writes frequently on art. Though the title of the piece brings to mind the mythical creatures, half-nymph, half-bird who called sailors to their doom, she is open to the modern definition of a siren being a warning alarm.

There is much to worry about: the splendor of nature versus the call of consumption and human greed. Which do we hear, how do we answer? Are we listening? Worthy questions, gently posed, immersed in swirling forms as beautiful as the sea itself.

Moving upstairs to David Nakabayashi and Jenni Lukasiewicz is like traveling inland from the shore. Partners in life and art, in 2011 they lived on seven acres of forestland in southern New Mexico that made a very deep impression on them. There were elk, deer, foxes and skunks, as well as a trove of vintage objects discovered when fixing up a relative’s house. The sights and experiences changed their creative outlook as well as their thoughts on consumption. In 2013, impressed by the energy and ferment of Bushwick Open Studios, they relocated to New York. But they never forgot the wilderness of the Southwest, which informs Second Nature, their first collaboration.

 

Installation by Nakabayashi and Lukasiewicz (photo ©C Kirkpatrick)
Installation by Nakabayashi and Lukasiewicz (photo ©C Kirkpatrick)

 

They bring to it different strengths and interests. Nakabayashi was born in Germany and grew up in Japan, Oklahoma, and Texas. A self-taught painter and sculptor, he confesses to a “manic, take no prisoners style.” Lukasiewicz, from South Hadley, Massachusetts, studied studio art at Mount Holyoke College, and bookbinding and paper making in Italy. Her approach is slower and more thoughtful, and the pair admits to occasional clashes.

 

Umbrella Elk by Nakabayashi and Lukasiewicz (photo courtesy of the artists)
Umbrella Elk by Nakabayashi and Lukasiewicz (photo courtesy of the artists)

 

The collaboration produces an unusual fusion of the familiar and the unexpected. Above their space, a shape suggesting a mounted deer head turns out to be an elk made from umbrella parts. Inside a deer prances on legs fashioned from crutches, with carpet swatch hide (donated by helpful neighbors). A stump was once a laundry hamper, the bough of a tree once cardboard boxes.

 

Deer by David Nakabayashi and Jenni Lukasiewicz (photo ©C Kirkpatrick)
Deer by Nakabayashi and Lukasiewicz (photo ©C Kirkpatrick)

 

Their space teeters between two orders. The loosely naturalistic painting of a stricken deer suggests a dying relationship with nature, while the assemblages present a strange, brave new world constructed with remnants of the old. Using junk as “an art supply,” Nakabayashi and Lukasiewicz take us to the Southwest wilderness, reinvented now and seen in the bright light of imagination.

Art Walk runs from September 14 – September 29 at the Sheen Center in Manhattan.

Searching for the Meaning of Art: ‘Thomas Lendvai: 10’ at ODETTA

Photos by Etty Yaniv unless otherwise indicated

For Ellen Hackl Fagan, ODETTA’s gallerist and curator, titling the current sculpture show Thomas Lendvai: 10 was a no-brainer. When artist Thomas Lendvai came up with the title “Ten,” which marks the first time in ten years that the sculptor has been given a chance to show his large-scale sculptures in a New York gallery, Hackl Fagan embraced it willingly. Serendipitously, it also marks the tenth show at ODETTA.

Gallerist Ellen Hackl Fagan and her dog in front of a sculpture by Thomas Lendvai
Gallerist Ellen Hackl Fagan and her dog in front of a sculpture by Thomas Lendvai

 

Hackl Fagan recalls how Lendvai, an artist who also works as a carpenter in a shop near the gallery, has been coming to ODETTA since it opened during Bushwick Open Studios in 2014. When she realized he worked with wood and had access to tools, she asked him to help with small projects, and ultimately last summer, she asked the artist for a studio visit. Seeing his work, Hackl Fagen made a mental note that Lendvai knew how to build large-scale sculpture. She notes, “I began to think that summer would be an ideal time to take bigger risks at the gallery and asked Tom to create a proposal.” Two months later, Lendvai showed her a scale model of the gallery with a sculpture placed inside the space.

Installation view of Thomas Lendvai: 10; photo courtesy of ODETTA
Installation view of Thomas Lendvai: 10; photo courtesy of ODETTA

 

After discussing different editing ideas, Lendvai came back to Hackl Fagan with a final 3D sketch of his proposal for the sculpture. “Close to installation time, I began panicking because I’d never worked with an artist from models, so I brought him back to pace the floors with me and demonstrate roughly how large it would be. That gave me renewed confidence that we wouldn’t have a redux of the Stonehenge debacle in the movie Spinal Tap!,” Hackl Fagan recalls with a wide smile. Having worked with the artist numerous times by then, Hackl Fagan felt she should trust him to use the space as his “residency” at ODETTA. With some help and fully at his own expense, Lendvai built the sculpture on site in two weeks.

Visitors engage with <em>X Never Marks the Spot</em> by Thomas Lendvai; photo courtesy of ODETTA
Visitors engage with X Never Marks the Spot by Thomas Lendvai; photo courtesy of ODETTA

 

The resulting form is striking and ambitious. Lendvai utilizes colossal and boldly tilted geometric forms to create a physically immersive site-responsive installation made of the same materials as compose the gallery walls: sheetrock and wooden beams. A huge structure in the form of a plus sign or the Roman numeral X, sections the gallery space into four quadrants, but upon entering the gallery, a viewer can perceive it only in fragments by walking and viewing it from different vantage points. In the process of navigating their way around the sculpture, visitors are constantly aware of their own body in relation to the structure and in relation to the gallery space at large. This experiential interaction with the work prompts meditation on the relationship between self, art, and architecture. Lendvai says that he wants the sculpture to be architectural but not architecture, a sculpture that references its surroundings: “Instead of a volume of mass, it’s more like a volume of space; it’s the negative space made visible,” he explains.

<em>X Marks the Spot</em> by Thomas Lendvai
X Marks the Spot by Thomas Lendvai

 

Influenced by the reductive aesthetics of Minimalism, X Never Marks the Spot plays with the constructs of space, time, and gravity, yet independent of any particular narrative. Its solid elegance is countered by a whimsical sense of suspended dance-like movement, echoing both an architectural form and a corporeal gesture. Lendvai notes that the internal structure is intentially visible underneath to allow the piece to “flip-flop between abstraction and representation.” This representational detail may read as a Dadaist wink but not exclusively. Lendvai adamantly says that he is searching for the meaning of art and concludes that he sees art as the experience that a visitor takes away after leaving a gallery. As she reflects on her successful experience with Lendvai’s site-specific project, Hackl Fagan is confident that she will offer other artists a similar opportunity in the future. As those who experienced Thomas Lendvai: 10 already know, visitors will benefit from her ambitious decision.

Works on view in Thomas Lendvai: 10 at ODETTA
Works on view in Thomas Lendvai: 10 at ODETTA

 

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ODETTA, located at 229 Cook Street in Brooklyn, will reopen on 11 September 2015 with their eleventh show titled Seeing Sound to inaugurate the fall season

The Art and Craft of Paper

Drawing-Rooms-Victory-Hall
Victory Hall in Jersey City; all images by the author

In the Drawing Rooms of Victory Hall, a former convent building in Downtown Jersey City, curator Anne Trauben has invited ten artists—Etty Yaniv, Sylvia Schwartz, Jaynie Gillman Crimmins, Anonda Bell, Alex Paik, Margaret Weber, Liz Jaff, Austin Thomas, Diane Tenerelli-June, and Ryan Sarah Murphy—to show their work in Paper Constructions. In individual installations that embody the character of the space, the artists have created mini worlds that demonstrate how each works with paper. Approaching the central theme of “paper” in a diversity of ways, the work comments on the ease with which the material can be modified, constructed, and deconstructed.

Drawing-Rooms-Etty-Yaniv
Installation view of work by Etty Yaniv
Drawing-Rooms-Jaynie-Crimmins
Installation view of work by Jaynie Crimmins
Drawing-Rooms-Alex-Paik
Installation view of work by Alex Paik

Etty Yaniv’s work embodies these possibilities as her sculptural installations are built from hundreds of torn pieces that grow into layered, biomorphic,and immersive environments. The work of Jaynie Gillman Crimmins follows a similar process yet on a smaller scale. Her sculptures composed of shreds of paper sewn together to create complex creatures that are reminiscent of the natural world. Relating his artistic practice to his initial love, music, Alex Paik writes, “these paper constructions mimic the way that the voices of a fugue are continuously repeated, transposed, inverted, and folded into themselves.”

Drawing-Rooms-Liz-Jaff
Installation view of work by Liz Jaff
Drawing-Rooms-Slyvia-Schwartz
Installation view of work by Sylvia Schwartz
Drawing-Rooms-Ryan-Sarah_Murphy
Installation view of work by Ryan Sarah Murphy

Attracted to paper for its versatility, artists Liz Jaff and Slyvia Schwartz respond to this quality through alteration. Jaff folds her paper: This transformation from a flat surface to a three-dimensional object is what captures her interest. By contrast, the unfinished product, the pulp, is what Schwartz likens to the process of sculpting, as she fills molds and builds two-dimensional, yet sculptural, work. Ryan Sarah Murphy is more interested in the inherent value and qualities that the material, in this case cardboard, carries, noting, “I am interested in how this simple, abundant and inherently impermanent material can be structured into quiet surfaces conveying both formation and dilapidation simultaneously.”

Drawing-Rooms-Austin-Thomas
Installation view of work by Austin Thomas
Drawing-Rooms-Margaret-Weber
Installation view of work by Margaret Weber
Drawing-Rooms-Anonda-Bell
Installation view of work by Anonda Bell
installpaper
Installation view of work by Diane Tenerelli-June; image courtesy of the artist

Working on the paper, rather than with it, Austin Thomas and Margaret Weber use mark making to create a flat picture, yielding vastly different results. Weber’s work shares a common naturalistic theme with Anonda Bell‘s cutouts of bugs, again taking advantage of the flexibility of the material. Experiencing the works of these artists makes clear the vast possibilities of an oft-unnoticed medium. Paper Constructions transforms the once mundane, reminding us to see again.

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Paper Constructions at Victory Hall Drawing Rooms is on view through this weekend at 180 Grand St, Jersey City, NJ. Hours are Thursday-Friday 4PM-7PM and Saturday-Sunday 2PM-6PM

Gesture and Commentary: Recent Gallery Openings

by Etty Yaniv; photos by Etty Yaniv unless otherwise indicated

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Ellen Hackl Fagan’s studio, in the back of ODETTA Gallery, MoleculesofMusic, 2014, ink, acrylic, graphite on board

Luhring Augustine / Philip Taaffe’s recent large scale paintings seamlessly interweave a myriad of techniques, such as silkscreens, stencils, collage, marbling, and staining. This mélange results in a subtle and rich surface which resembles tapestry or fabric. The color, rhythm and surface in these images create layered patterns, resonating a meditative space in which past and present submerge. The most arresting canvases in this show are grouped on the wall facing the entrance, Nocturne with Architectural Fragments, Imaginary Fountain and Choir.

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Philip Taaffe’s Nocturne with Architectural Fragments, Imaginary Fountain, Choir (left to right)

Life on Mars / Fran O’Neill’s newest series, painting her way home, features large-scale abstract gestural paintings and smaller scale works on paper that draw on the tradition of abstract expressionism. Filled with gutsy color combinations and bold brush strokes, her imagery conveys a sense of energetic, almost ecstatic immersion in the immediacy, intimacy and physicality of mark making.

imageWarby by Fran O’Neill, courtesy of Life on Mars

Benjamin Pritchard‘s intimately scaled canvases successfully pair with O’Neill’s sensibility. His contained shapes, painted with mostly restrained and contrasting color palettes, evoke an unidentified sign system with a personal bent. The forms both collapse inward and push outward beyond the layered surface, emitting enigmatic psychological vibes.

imageBenjamin Pritchard with his piece 325 (Steffy)

imagePlane Sam by Benjamin Pritchard

Fresh Window / Alexa Hoyer’s documentary photo series depict homemade gun targets used in illegal shooting ranges. These targets, made of movie star pin ups, politicians, severed mannequin parts and discarded consumer objects, punctuate the desolate beauty of Nevada’s desert landscape and create an uncanny sense of displacement mixed with poignant cultural commentary.

imageFrank by Alexa Hoyer, courtesy of Fresh Window

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Cutout by Alexa Hoyer, courtesy of Fresh Window

Odetta / The artists in PAY TO PLAY, Joe Amrhein, Rico Gatson, William Powhida and Rita Valley, reflect with deadpan humor and cool remove on ethical issues of economics in our society, with a particularly sharp gaze at the art market. Powhida, for example, presents a series of objects fabricated according to different formal strategies accompanied by hand painted certificates, poking fun at the values of these resurgent neo-formalist tropes.

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Installation view featuring the work of Rico Gatson (Ronald Feldman Fine Arts) and William Powhida (Charlie James Gallery, LA)

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Some Asset Class Paintings by William Powhida 

Songs for Presidents / James Sheehan‘s exciting new body of meticulous and textured paintings encapsulate a rich universe within a minuscule scale. Sheehan’s imagery centers on artists such as Malevich, Guston and Miro, alluring the viewer to delve in, decipher the visual clues and navigate the space one step at a time. Sheehan assumes the role of a “designated mourner for the painters painter,” as he puts it, by making viewers perceive his devotion to a single canvas.

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On by James Sheehan

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The Unimaginable Zero Summer by James Sheehan

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Luhring Augustine is located at 25 Knickerbocker Avenue. Philip Taaffe is on view until April 26, 2015. 

Life on Mars is located at 56 Bogart Street. Fran O’Neill, with Benjamin Prichard in the Project room is on view until Feb 15th, 2015

Fresh Window is located at 56 Bogart Street. Targets, featuring the work of Alexa Hoyer, is on view until Feb 6, 2015.

Odetta is located at 229 Cook Street. Pay to Play, featuring recent works by Joe Amrhein, Rico Gatson, William Powhida, and Rita Valley is on view until March 8, 2015. 

Songs for Presidents is located at 1673 Gates Avenue. James Sheehan, at the lek, will be on view until Feb 15, 2015.

A Chance to be Seen: Blick in Bushwick

by Etty Yaniv; all photos by Etty Yaniv

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Opening at ArtHelix

When Aaron Morrill, chairman of the board of Blick Art Materials, approached ArtHelix, a dynamic art gallery in Bushwick, he intended to use the space for a holiday party. Instead, after discussing the idea further they decided that there is no better way to show support for the Blick Art Materials employees than provide them with a sponsored art show at ArtHelix. “Blick’s business is made strong by the creative spirit of their employees, many of whom are themselves passionate and talented artists,” says Jackie Cantwell, the show curator. ArtHelix co-owner Peter Hopkins adds that the show both celebrates the Blick associates hard work and suggests that the company is sympathetic to their struggle of balancing a job with the hope of an art career.

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Peter Hopkins of ArtHelix and Aaron Morrill of Blick Art Materials

The curatorial process was straightforward: each associate was invited to submit as many works as they liked with the knowledge that only one piece would be accepted. Since Blick has never hosted a curated or professionally hung exhibition before, this initiative enabled the participating artists to experience the process of submission, curation, and presentation in a gallery setting. “It was a great opportunity to treat their work with the respect it deserves while also asking that it be presented and submitted professionally,” emphasizes Cantwell. She explains that work was chosen based on its quality, craftsmanship, presentation, and potential to create some kind of narrative with the other artworks in the show.

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ArtHelix curator Jackie Cantwell and gallery manager and assistant curator Wilson Duggan

Given the democratic nature of this group show as well as the wide range of work and media, Cantwell and assistant curator Wilson Duggan faced a substantial curatorial challenge. Their placement choices often result in a cohesive space with sufficient breathing space around individual artworks.

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Pata Llano, I Remember Pangea, 2014

For example, hanging Pata Llano’s white sculpture of linear cubes in the upper corner of the back room creates a subtle white on white effect, activating the tall ceiling, corner, and wall. Liano’s minimalistic sensibility is juxtaposed with Gavin Weir’s flair for the fantastic. With its vibrant colors and meticulous linear rendering, Weir’s imaginative drawing creates a convincing presence, while conveying a surprising dialogue with Liano’s white sculpture across the room.

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Gavin Weir, La Luz de Alante es la que Alunbra from 2014 (pencil, ink, watercolor on paper)

Similarly in the middle room, Megan Westgate’s two delicate, abstracted and intimately scaled mixed media drawings on paper bounce off Felix Caballero’s bold figurative canvas or Luan Gashi’s semi abstracted image.
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Megan Westgate, Filthy Rich from 2013 (mixed media)

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Felix Caballero, Notorious from 2012 (acrylic on canvas)

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Luan Gashi, Woman 2 from 2014 (acrylic on canvas)

Blick’s sponsored art exhibit initiative is in line with ArtHelix’ vision of showing work by groups of under or unrepresented artists. “The art world has an underside, made up of art handlers, art store employees, and many other sub-groups of those who toil in the art world, but seldom if ever get a chance to be seen as artists in their own right. It was amazing to see the joy and validation that came to the associates by doing this show. We are really proud to have hosted this,” says Hopkins.

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Sahdir Ellis, Batman: HUSH from 2009 (acrylic on leather)

At the entrance to the back room, a pair of painted sneakers titled Batman: HUSH dominate the space. They are placed on two shelves of slightly different heights. It takes me a minute to recognize Sahdir Ellis, the artist, who is conversing with Peter Hopkins and a group of viewers next to his artwork. “I helped you at the Blick store yesterday,” he reminds me with a smile.

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Blick in Bushwick is on view until December 21 at ArtHelix, Friday to Sunday from 12pm-6pm. ArtHelix is located at 299 Meserole Street.

Blick in Bushwick featured work by A. Demetrius Felder, Amanda Menezes, Andrew McCoy, Ann Marie Amick, Bryant Castro, Carlos Williams, Chris Gonzalez, Curtis Andrews, Daphane Love, Eleisia Richardson, Felix Caballero, Gavin Weir, James McDonough, Jose Londono, Josephine Tam, Julius Pearson, Karina Antigua, Katarra Peterson, Lance Laurie, Luan Gashi
Macey L. Brady, Mark Fionda, Megan Westgate, Melissa Tolve, Mustafa Allsop,
Pata Llano, Sahdir Ellis, Samantha Philbert, Sara Jean-Baptiste, and Whitney Meredith. The show was curated by Jackie Cantwell and Wilson Duggan.