by Etty Yaniv; artwork photos: The Lodge Gallery
“For Which It Stands,” the large group show on view at the Lodge Gallery gathers drawings, paintings, video and sculpture installations by 17 artists from 13 countries. The show not only presents a wide range of expressions and media, but also displays an amalgam of cultures and viewpoints, which echo the multi-cultural offerings of NYC, or rather conjure a microcosmic image of America with an exotic flavor. The timing of the exhibition, which opened just days before America’s celebratory birthday and is on view through July 28, is not lost on its curators Jason Patrick Voegele and Keith Schweitzer. Voegele, also a co-director of the gallery, explains that the show aims to capture the contemporary American experience of immigration and how its inherent cultural assimilation fertilizes the imagination of both foreign and American–born artists who reside here.
Born in Georgia, Levan Mindiashvili currently resides in Bushwick. In his “Urban Identities,” a monochromatic drawing on transparent rice paper mounted on canvas, the artist creates a rich and subtle surface, which evokes the tactility of human skin. The sparse imagery depicts fragments of buildings and traces of architectural details such as scattered tiny dark windows, revealing an introspective gaze into the delicate fabric of memory. On the top right, Mindiashvili, with a typical diaristic impulse, includes text; in this case, a shipping document that references his voyage from Buenos Aires, where he had stayed for several years, to Brooklyn, where he settled. With sensitive lines, rich tactility and careful use of space, the artist effectively translates his self-reflective state of mind into a visual poem.
photo above by Etty Yaniv
Esperanza Mayobre is a Brooklyn-based Venezuelan artist who creates fictive laboratory spaces, for which she also writes and performs. The artist brings together an array of both representational and conceptual metaphors to illustrate themes of immigration. Using the lines of light from candles to symbolize birth, the artist also offers viewers “free” or “give-away” money to reference third world countries’ debt. Dust comes to stand for the conversion of illegal aliens to legal citizens, while elegant graffiti is meant to portray urban chaos. Do not neglect to take some balsam, representative of immigrants, in a tiny plastic wrap on your way out.
Calling to mind an exotic hybrid of fairytale and ritual, Saya Woolfalk’s haunting video “Chimera 2 Round,” presents a dream like masquerade that builds a personal yet oddly familiar cross-cultural mythology. The imagery depicts a female dancer painted in bold body colors, slowly moving in a ceremonial, meditative trance. The movement, setting, costumes, and symbolic colors seem to connote Hindu, Native American, Scandinavian and South American mythologies. By placing the moving image above a triangular shape comprised of three sculptures of colorful skulls, the artist evokes a mock altar and added wink. Woolfalk explains in a statement that her works become “the repository of the dreams and ideas of the many people who participate in producing and imagining them. In the tradition of the fable or folk story, I map the desires and ideas of people to create narratives that attempt to be relevant to a contemporary audience.”
7”x9”x6”, Mixed Media, crystals
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Artists: Orlando Arocena (Mexico/Cuba), Raul Ayala (Equador), Chong Gon Byun (Korea), Liset Castillo (Cuba), Alexis Duque (Colombia), Alessandra Expósito (USA), Kira Nam Greene (Korea,) Jung S. Kim (Korea), Fay Ku (Taiwan), Annu Palakunnathu Matthew (India), Cheonwook Park (Korea), Esperanza Mayobre (Venezuela), Levan Mindiashvili (Georgia), Sirikul Pattachote (Thailand), Shahpour M. Pouyan (Iran), Saya Woolfalk (USA), Siebren Versteeg (USA), Kent Henriksen (USA)
On view through July 28 at The Lodge Gallery, 131 Chrystie Street, NYC