Alex Sewell, an artist and curator who has recently moved from Lynn, Massachusetts, to Bushwick, sees himself as a middleman between curators and artists. Ess Ef Eff, the recent curatorial project he co-founded with artist Alexander Giavis, is less of a traditional artist-collective and more of a conduit for curators and artists to exchange ideas and collaborate on events in geographical areas to which they typically might not have access. “Since we’re just starting out, we’ll most likely stay within the greater New England area,” says Sewell. Yet, their vision is expansive.
Sewell and Giavis aim to encourage as many artists as possible to be proactive in their communities as well as to facilitate a cross pollination of artists, spaces, and curators from different areas of the country. Regarding their curatorial process, the plan is to rotate roles within the group for each show with the intention of organizing one- to two-week events every three months. As such, Sewell curated Tread, a recent pop-up exhibition at The Living Gallery, and Giavis will curate an upcoming show in Boston for the second part of this inaugural series.
In Tread, Sewell featured thirteen artists from Massachusetts and New York. From New York were artists Ben Bertocci, Russel Cameron, Nicholas Cueva, Ashley Garrett, Alfred Rosenbluth, Elisa Soliven, Daniel Williams, JJ Manford, and Ted Mineo; from Massachusetts were artists Walker T. Roman, Michael Christie, Alexander Giavis, and Leann Davignon. Demonstrating a wide range of sensibilities, works included painting, sculpture, photography, film, and installation art.
With Weona, a lush oil painting by artist Ashley Garrett, a vibrant landscape evokes a sunny day out of town. Conjuring a breeze or a stream, a blue form flows from the top of the canvas in a diagonal gusto and intersects with a vibrant yellow foreground, which is dotted with rich and intricate green formations. Its linear moments, such as the red fence pattern in the back and the lonely red line at the edge of the bottom-right canvas, punctuate the space with admirable precision and delightful surprises.
Like an unwanted souvenir, Baby by artist Russel Cameron is reminiscent of something held over from a nightmare. This clay sculpture appears as a small effect that has been carried over into our world. Displayed as a specimen, Baby prompts morbid investigation from its clear acrylic box.
Pressing Symptom by artist Ted Mineo hovers somewhere between still life and an exotic life-form. This evocative archival inkjet print conjures two hybrid creatures that manifest both biological and technological attributes. Staged in a dark void, these creatures appear to float on top of a dense liquid or in some acidic air bubbles from an extraterrestrial planet.
As a curator, Sewell tries to see as much work as he can and to identify artists who are working hard in producing interesting art. “If I hear about someone working a job six days a week and who is also in the studio all the time, I’m instantly drawn to that; also it’s hard not to drink from your own well. I have a lot of very talented friends who I love to show,” he says. Overall, the structure of the group is still evolving and the two co-founders welcome committed people who wish to join.