‘River Woman’ Celebrates the Intersection Between Art and the Environment

Last Saturday was Earth Day, and people gathered in Washington, D.C. for the March for Science. This Saturday is the People’s Climate March. Both have been staged to promote environment and climate literacy. There is no better time to do some deep thinking about the state of the earth and climate change then right now. The exhibition ‘River Woman’ at ODETTA Gallery in Bushwick compliments this moment nicely. Curated by artist Ellen Hackl Fagan, the show includes works from artists Nancy Cohen, Ellen Kozak, Fritz Horstman and Kathleen Vance. It closes on April 30th so this is the last weekend to visit the gallery.

‘River Woman’
elemental
universal
sustaining
beautiful
dangerous
the river and the woman merge
and become one entity

At the center of the first room sits a large wooden formwork by Fritz Horstman. The gray cavity of the structure makes up the shape of the East River. Roosevelt Island stands out to help the viewer render the entirety of this salt-water tidal estuary, giving the body of water focused prominence. Also featured are two of his videos created from conversations and interactions done with river communities abroad.

Formwork East River
Image: Fritz Horstman, Formwork for the East River, 2017, plywood, wood, hardware, 36 x 216 x 84 inches

Off to each side of Horstman’s installation, hanging on the walls, are two large handmade paper works by Nancy Cohen. One appears to capture debris caught at the river bank. The other, pulls out for an aerial view of a river bend. The undulating surface of the paper evoke the landscape they’re inspired by. It is fun to get up close to these pieces just to let the tactile quality wash over you. There is something ancient and present about their quality.

On the far wall of the first room are paintings by Ellen Kozak. They are expertly produced to create a semi-gloss finish of images that are inspired by natural phenomena, motion and light. Rows of color on one of them feels like ripples in a river. Since 1994, her studio has been perched just above the bank of the Hudson, she says she sees the river in all seasons and the works imbue that sensibility.

Moving towards the back of the gallery gurgling water can be heard. A large sinuous brown mass hugs the corner at torso level. It is a reimagined version of Newtown Creek. Using historical documents, Kathleen Vance traced the tidal flow of the Super Fund creek from its tributaries – Dutch Kills, Whale Creek, Maspeth Creek and English Kills, and redirects it. This new rendition is healed and unencumbered from the last few hundred years of industrialization. The water seems clean enough to drink, it is serene and peaceful.

Blue North Painting
Ellen Kozak, Blue North, 2015, oil on panel, 27 x 30.5 x 2

In tandem with the show, Fagan, of ODETTA invited Paul Gallay, President of Hudson Riverkeeper to discuss the state of the Hudson River and its related tributaries this past Sunday, April 23rd. Riverkeeper is a member-supported watchdog organization committed to safeguarding the drinking water for millions of New Yorkers. This year It is celebrating its 50th anniversary. In January, Riverkeeper signed a landmark agreement with New York State and Entergy, the company that runs the controversial facility, to close Indian Point Nuclear Energy Center by 2021. This is a huge victory for Riverkeepers and the people of New York State.

People gather to listen to Paul Gallay, President of Hudson Riverkeeper

Joining Gallay was NYC Water Quality Project Coordinator, Chrissy Remein. She shared stories about the many partners that work together to monitor and gather data. She invited attendees to participate in the upcoming visioning meeting for Newtown Creek which will happen in early June. The two took questions, which led to a passionate exchange by those attending. It was an inspiring conversation that connected the long-time efforts to improve the quality of water and environment along the Hudson River, to current struggles on policy and the ‘River Woman’ artwork surrounding us.

Can’t make it to the People’s Climate March in D.C.? Here are two ways you can take action:

1. ODETTA is having a silent online auction to benefit Riverkeeper. The auction is open until midnight April 30, the last day of the exhibition. The works in the gallery and in the flat files are available. All of the proceeds raised above the reserve price go directly to Hudson Riverkeeper. Support the artist while investing in our waterways!

2. The 6th Annual Riverkeeper Sweep will be happening on May 6th. You can register to volunteer at one of over 90 Sweep projects across the Hudson Valley and New York City.  Learn more: https://www.riverkeeper.org/news-events/events/rvk-events/save-the-date-6th-annual-riverkeeper-sweep/


ODETTA
229 Cook Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn
Hours: Friday thru Sunday 1-6 pm, and by appointment.
“River Woman’ Is up until April 30th.
Website

 

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

###

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.

Artist-Gallerist-Curator Katerina Lanfranco: Fine Lines at Rhombus Space, a Change of Perspective

by Etty Yaniv

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From left to right: Jason Peters, Nils Folke Anderson, Katerina Lanfranco, Helen Dennis, and Ann Stewart; all photos courtesy of Rhombus Space, unless credited otherwise

Katerina Lanfranco, the artist-gallerist-curator who runs Rhombus Space, has wanted to curate shows and run a space for a long time, but the right conditions never presented themselves as clearly as they did this year.  When her grad school friend left their shared Red Hook studio space, Lanfranco needed to decide what to do next. Knowing that she would be in an ebb period of her studio practice after a successful show at Nancy Hoffman Gallery a few months earlier, she chose to use some of her art sales to start Rhombus Space. Since September 2013 her gallery is run as a self-contained exhibition space, which is also an extension of Lanfranco’s studio practice as a visual artist. “I have always liked the idea of blurring public and private distinctions,” she adds with a friendly smile, while slightly opening a light curtain which marks the border between her private studio at the back and the public space at the front.  Blurring the lines between art and life is not only evident in Lanfranco’s space, but also in the artwork that she likes to show there.

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Below a Sea of Stars by Katerina Lanfranco, Installation View, Nancy Hoffman Gallery, NYC, 2008; courtesy of Katerina Lanfranco and Nancy Hoffman Gallery

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Natural Selection by Katerina Lanfranco, Installation View, Sesnon Gallery,  Santa Cruz, CA, 2012; courtesy of Katerina Lanfranco and Nancy Hoffman Gallery

So far, Lanfranco has met the artists whose work has shown at Rhombus Space in a number of different ways, such as grad school, artist residencies, open studios, exhibitions, and through other artist recommendations. In fact, the exhibition themes develop with specific artists in mind; “it’s almost like arranging a dinner party and imagining which artists’ works would complement each other, and what dominant theme might emerge from the dialogue between them,” she explains. It is evident from this show that in her curatorial practice Lanfranco aims to enhance the exhibition dynamics by the overall design, grouping and relationship between the pieces. She emphasizes that she is hoping that viewers will be excited not only by the strength of individual artworks but also by the collective power.

image

Fine Lines at Rhombus Space, partial overview

For Fine Lines, the second group show at Rhombus Space, Lanfranco chose artists with strong formal sensibility, shared interest in architectural design or linear details, and focus on bringing the viewer’s attention to familiar forms that people tend to overlook in daily life. Utilizing scale, lines, volume, and color expressed in a variety of media, Lanfranco manages to activate the rhombus room itself as a cohesive architectural entity, while blurring the lines between photography, sculpture, painting, drawing and printmaking. For instance, placing Nils Folke Anderson’s small-scale wood structure of blazing orange horizontal and vertical frames laying on top of a grey-lined wooden table in front of Ann Stewart’s black and white linear drawing on the wall, creates a vibrant dialog between these two juxtaposing pieces. Likewise, as the viewer’s eye wonders to the opposite corner, Anderson’s tall and narrow wooden rectangular structure with its vibrant blue linear patterns, vividly converses with Helen Dennis’ luminous black and white light photographic drawings on the wall.  

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Reciprocal Link by Nils Folke Anderson, painted wood, dimensions variable, 2012, and Impromptu Superlabyrinth by Ann Stewart, graphite on paper, 2013

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From left to right: Nils Folke Anderson, Untitled by Nils Folke Anderson, painted wood, 2012; Highline by Helen Dennis, sketch, photographic drawing, 2011; Telegraph Mess by by Helen Dennis, photographic drawing, 2011; and Grand Central, NYC by by Helen Dennis, photographic drawing, 2011

In her three photographic drawings Helen Dennis, a Bushwick-based artist, depicts urban architectural scenes by using an intriguing alternative photographic process where layers of drawings act as the source negatives for her photographic images. In these nocturnal feeling images she manages to blur the borders between photography and drawing by using light itself to draw the fine lines.

image

Grand Central, NYC by by Helen Dennis, photographic drawing, 2011

Jason Peters, another Bushwick artist, also defies clear categorization in his playful yet elegant paper sculptures. Ranging from flat to three dimensional, hanging on a wall or laying on a pedestal, these forms are all made of black paper which is covered with meticulous repetitive patterns of silver ink. They reflect the artist’s interest in shifting common objects from having a utilitarian function to a conceptual one.

 image

Untitled by Jason Peters, silver ink on black paper, 2013

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From left to right: Untitled by Jason Peters, silver ink on black paper, 2013; It Is Always More Than You Realize by Jason Peters, silver ink, black paper, zinc, wood, 2013 (in front); Epicenter by Ann Stewart, etching and aquatint on paper, 2013; and Do You See The Light by Jason Peters, silver ink on black paper, 2013 

Hovering between painting and sculpture, Nils Folke Anderson’s painted wood Reciprocal Link sculptures explore architectural forms, where elements can be alternated so that each one has the exact same position as the next.

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Bench by Nils Folke Anderson, painted wood, 2012

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Untitled by Nils Folke Anderson, painted wood, 2012

Surprisingly a relatively novice printmaker, Ann Stewart’s energetic drawings translate into skilled etching and aquatint prints which scramble the border between living systems, natural elements, and architectural structures. In a labor-intensive process of repetition, proliferation, and reconstruction, her continual drawing and erasing of an image results in a wonderfully complex linear vocabulary that alternates depending on the viewer’s perspective: From close-up, the images resonate a deconstructed hand-drawn map, whereas from a distance they resemble an abstracted landscape.

image

Epicenter by Ann Stewart, etching and aquatint on paper, 2013

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Tethering Corollaries II, etching and aquatint on paper, 2013, and Constellation (Ghost), etching and aquatint on paper, 2013, both by Ann Stewart

This successful group show embodies why Lanfranco sees Rhombus Space as liberating in that she could emerge from her hermetic studio practice which dominated the last couple of years, into a relationship with art that is more open, and engaging with others. ”It’s already been a nice change of perspective,” she concludes.

image

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Group exhibition featuring work by Helen Dennis, Nils Folke Anderson, Jason Peters, and Ann Stewart

Fines Lines will be on display at Rhombus Space from October 18 to November 17, 2013

Artist-Gallerist-Curator Katerina Lanfranco: Fine Lines at Rhombus Space, a Change of Perspective

by Etty Yaniv

image

From left to right: Jason Peters, Nils Folke Anderson, Katerina Lanfranco, Helen Dennis, and Ann Stewart; all photos courtesy of Rhombus Space, unless credited otherwise

Katerina Lanfranco, the artist-gallerist-curator who runs Rhombus Space, has wanted to curate shows and run a space for a long time, but the right conditions never presented themselves as clearly as they did this year.  When her grad school friend left their shared Red Hook studio space, Lanfranco needed to decide what to do next. Knowing that she would be in an ebb period of her studio practice after a successful show at Nancy Hoffman Gallery a few months earlier, she chose to use some of her art sales to start Rhombus Space. Since September 2013 her gallery is run as a self-contained exhibition space, which is also an extension of Lanfranco’s studio practice as a visual artist. “I have always liked the idea of blurring public and private distinctions,” she adds with a friendly smile, while slightly opening a light curtain which marks the border between her private studio at the back and the public space at the front.  Blurring the lines between art and life is not only evident in Lanfranco’s space, but also in the artwork that she likes to show there.

image

Below a Sea of Stars by Katerina Lanfranco, Installation View, Nancy Hoffman Gallery, NYC, 2008; courtesy of Katerina Lanfranco and Nancy Hoffman Gallery

image

Natural Selection by Katerina Lanfranco, Installation View, Sesnon Gallery,  Santa Cruz, CA, 2012; courtesy of Katerina Lanfranco and Nancy Hoffman Gallery

So far, Lanfranco has met the artists whose work has shown at Rhombus Space in a number of different ways, such as grad school, artist residencies, open studios, exhibitions, and through other artist recommendations. In fact, the exhibition themes develop with specific artists in mind; “it’s almost like arranging a dinner party and imagining which artists’ works would complement each other, and what dominant theme might emerge from the dialogue between them,” she explains. It is evident from this show that in her curatorial practice Lanfranco aims to enhance the exhibition dynamics by the overall design, grouping and relationship between the pieces. She emphasizes that she is hoping that viewers will be excited not only by the strength of individual artworks but also by the collective power.

image

Fine Lines at Rhombus Space, partial overview

For Fine Lines, the second group show at Rhombus Space, Lanfranco chose artists with strong formal sensibility, shared interest in architectural design or linear details, and focus on bringing the viewer’s attention to familiar forms that people tend to overlook in daily life. Utilizing scale, lines, volume, and color expressed in a variety of media, Lanfranco manages to activate the rhombus room itself as a cohesive architectural entity, while blurring the lines between photography, sculpture, painting, drawing and printmaking. For instance, placing Nils Folke Anderson’s small-scale wood structure of blazing orange horizontal and vertical frames laying on top of a grey-lined wooden table in front of Ann Stewart’s black and white linear drawing on the wall, creates a vibrant dialog between these two juxtaposing pieces. Likewise, as the viewer’s eye wonders to the opposite corner, Anderson’s tall and narrow wooden rectangular structure with its vibrant blue linear patterns, vividly converses with Helen Dennis’ luminous black and white light photographic drawings on the wall.  

image

Reciprocal Link by Nils Folke Anderson, painted wood, dimensions variable, 2012, and Impromptu Superlabyrinth by Ann Stewart, graphite on paper, 2013

 image

From left to right: Nils Folke Anderson, Untitled by Nils Folke Anderson, painted wood, 2012; Highline by Helen Dennis, sketch, photographic drawing, 2011; Telegraph Mess by by Helen Dennis, photographic drawing, 2011; and Grand Central, NYC by by Helen Dennis, photographic drawing, 2011

In her three photographic drawings Helen Dennis, a Bushwick-based artist, depicts urban architectural scenes by using an intriguing alternative photographic process where layers of drawings act as the source negatives for her photographic images. In these nocturnal feeling images she manages to blur the borders between photography and drawing by using light itself to draw the fine lines.

image

Grand Central, NYC by by Helen Dennis, photographic drawing, 2011

Jason Peters, another Bushwick artist, also defies clear categorization in his playful yet elegant paper sculptures. Ranging from flat to three dimensional, hanging on a wall or laying on a pedestal, these forms are all made of black paper which is covered with meticulous repetitive patterns of silver ink. They reflect the artist’s interest in shifting common objects from having a utilitarian function to a conceptual one.

 image

Untitled by Jason Peters, silver ink on black paper, 2013

image

From left to right: Untitled by Jason Peters, silver ink on black paper, 2013; It Is Always More Than You Realize by Jason Peters, silver ink, black paper, zinc, wood, 2013 (in front); Epicenter by Ann Stewart, etching and aquatint on paper, 2013; and Do You See The Light by Jason Peters, silver ink on black paper, 2013 

Hovering between painting and sculpture, Nils Folke Anderson’s painted wood Reciprocal Link sculptures explore architectural forms, where elements can be alternated so that each one has the exact same position as the next.

image

Bench by Nils Folke Anderson, painted wood, 2012

image

Untitled by Nils Folke Anderson, painted wood, 2012

Surprisingly a relatively novice printmaker, Ann Stewart’s energetic drawings translate into skilled etching and aquatint prints which scramble the border between living systems, natural elements, and architectural structures. In a labor-intensive process of repetition, proliferation, and reconstruction, her continual drawing and erasing of an image results in a wonderfully complex linear vocabulary that alternates depending on the viewer’s perspective: From close-up, the images resonate a deconstructed hand-drawn map, whereas from a distance they resemble an abstracted landscape.

image

Epicenter by Ann Stewart, etching and aquatint on paper, 2013

image

Tethering Corollaries II, etching and aquatint on paper, 2013, and Constellation (Ghost), etching and aquatint on paper, 2013, both by Ann Stewart

This successful group show embodies why Lanfranco sees Rhombus Space as liberating in that she could emerge from her hermetic studio practice which dominated the last couple of years, into a relationship with art that is more open, and engaging with others. ”It’s already been a nice change of perspective,” she concludes.

image

image

Group exhibition featuring work by Helen Dennis, Nils Folke Anderson, Jason Peters, and Ann Stewart

Fines Lines will be on display at Rhombus Space from October 18 to November 17, 2013