Everson Museum Celebrates Social Diversity with "Seen and Heard"

In a thorough and inspiring look at our sociopolitical history, the Everson Museum is mounting "Seen and Heard: An Active Commemoration of Women's Suffrage" in recognition of the 100th year anniversary of Women's suffrage in New York state. Opening Friday, June 9 at 6 pm and on view through August 27, the exhibition encompasses works by nine contemporary artists delving into civic engagement and social equality across a range of media. Artists Mildred Beltré, Yvonne Buchanan, Cassils, Lionel Cruet, Stella Marrs, Jessica Posner, Jessica Putnam-Phillips, Kevin Snipes, and Holly Zausner engage with issues of social justice through the lens of photography, ceramics, sculpture, installation and new media. Encouraging a new consideration of sociopolitical engagement with themes of feminism and gender politics, post-colonialism, and civil rights these works challenge the meaning of citizenship and what it means to be represented in the contemporary American political moment. 

work from "Dreamwork" series by artist Mildred Beltre (image courtesy the artist)

work from "Dreamwork" series by artist Mildred Beltre (image courtesy the artist)

The exhibition challenges social hierarchy and hegemony by offering a thought-provoking and multi-sensory experience. Jessica Putnam Phillips' lush juxtaposition of sleek porcelain with antagonistic military imagery poses questions of agency. Artist Lionel Cruet offers a new perspective on Martinican author Aimé Césaire 's Cahier d'un retour au pays natal (1939) in a contemporary, new media format, breathing new life into the ongoing discussions surrounding the implications of post-colonialism in the contemporary moment.

"At the End of Daybreak" Lionel Cruet (2017)(installation view) image courtesy the artist 

"At the End of Daybreak" Lionel Cruet (2017)(installation view) image courtesy the artist 

Cassils offers an insightful and assertive perspective on LGBTQ and transgender issues through performance and employing the body as a form of social sculpture. Stella Marrs' innovative interdisciplinary approach to feminism and feminist-directed narratives provides food for thought decidedly in in line with the theme of suffrage. The Everson has mounted a multi-perspective vision into what suffrage, and representation, means in a society that both allows access to diverse populations and omits requisite attention to ongoing themes of discrimination within parallel social groups, asking can we all be seen and heard equally in a politically tense environment.

Butter Body Politic (Butterface) Jessica Posner, (2016) film still. Image courtesy the Everson Museum. 

Butter Body Politic (Butterface) Jessica Posner, (2016) film still. Image courtesy the Everson Museum. 

The exhibition is on view at the Everson Museum in Syracuse, NY through August 2, 2017 with opening reception from 6 pm Friday, June 9 2017. More information at the museum's website. 

ANGE Combines Ritual and Mysticism for Equilibrium at Lodge gallery, Curated by Milk & Night Curatorial

Milk & Night Curatorial stuns with ANGE's newest exhibit, Equilibrium, featuring a series of new works by the artist uncovering the mysticism present in our ordinary lives. Dealing with themes of transformation, the artist's keen eye toward the magic inherent in the human body drives the strength of the show's success. The subjects of ANGE's work gaze back at the viewer, compelling them to examine how these forms and attitudes manifest in their everyday lives. What ANGE achieves is nothing short of alchemy: a mutation of the elements of our humanity into an elevating and unsettling sense of power. 

ANGE, October, part of Equilibrium at the Lodge Gallery curated by Milk & Night

ANGE, October, part of Equilibrium at the Lodge Gallery curated by Milk & Night

Themes of power play an important part throughout the exhibit. Self-empowerment, female empowerment, the power we exert on others: ANGE moves through it all in her images of the magical self. By integrating a sense of mystical realism, tempered with ritualistic self-presentation, ANGE unabashedly reveals the hyper-realistic qualities we all seek in exploring an understanding of our greater, spiritual selves. 

ANGE, May, part of Equilibrium at the Lodge Gallery curated by Milk & Night 

ANGE, May, part of Equilibrium at the Lodge Gallery curated by Milk & Night 

Delving into the ritual moving of the seasons through the calendar year, ANGE shocks and awes with the sheer range of human emotion presented through the shimmering skin and provocative glances in Equilibrium.

Make sure to catch the show, opening this Friday, May 5th at Lodge Gallery (131 Chrystie Street) from 6-9 pm - on view through May 7, 2017. 

The Beauty of Comfort in Contemporary Art: Works by Agnieszka Zak-Bielowa

"Pink shawl" from Chusta series (2016) by Agnieszka Zak-Bielowa, photo courtesy the artist 

"Pink shawl" from Chusta series (2016) by Agnieszka Zak-Bielowa, photo courtesy the artist 

Vibrant patterns emanate from a central focal point, balanced against light and shadow. The object comes into focus: familiar, yet exotic at the same time. Encountering works by Agnieszka Zak-Bielowa one begins to remember the objects they began to forget: treasured childhood memories resurface. Zak-Bielowa's nuanced foray into imagination and remembrance is aided by her excellent technical skills: fine brushmarks delineate the space between light and dark, foreground and background. The subtle motion of the subjects of her Chusta, or Shawl, series is embedded within the masterful brushstrokes she uses to compose these objects. 

SCAR.F in the wind, an exhibit of contemporary paintings by artist Agnieszka Zak-Bielowa

SCAR.F in the wind, an exhibit of contemporary paintings by artist Agnieszka Zak-Bielowa

In Zak-Bielowa's world, shawls come to celebrate family and tradition in a contemporary light. The deftness with which she treats her subject conveys compassion and longing. In a world of expansion and acceleration, the Chusta works represent conviviality: a human connection with those we love at a manageable pace, eschewing the frantic digital pace of our daily lives. What emerges from artworks by Zak-Bielowa is a thoughtful and considered approach to cultural legacy and tradition. She employs painting as a means to reclaim the space of wistful attachment: a shawl becomes a fragment of a family dinner, a place on which we laid our head, a treasured family heirloom. Shawls come to represent our very humanity. 

Chusta (Shawl) VIII, from Chusta series (2016) by Agnieszka Zak-Bielowa, photo courtesy the artist 

Chusta (Shawl) VIII, from Chusta series (2016) by Agnieszka Zak-Bielowa, photo courtesy the artist 

Agnieszka Zak-Biewlowa's paintings will be on view at the exhibit Scar.f in the Wind, curated by Sylwia Kolowiecka with support from the Polish Culture Institute New York. This traveling exhibit is on view at Emmanuel Fremin gallery in Chelsea, Manhattan from May 1-7, with a reception hosted on Thursday, May 4 from 6-8 , and subsequently at The Hollows in Brooklyn from May 8-15, with a reception on May 10th from 6-8 pm. 

Newark Arts Celebrates with 2017 Honors Gala Tonight, Wednesday, March 29

Everything is coming up Newark.

After the valiant and sustained efforts of Newark Arts to support homegrown, community-driven arts initiatives, everyone from Vogue to Artnet is singing the praises of this vibrant art scene. 

And tonight, Newark Arts is celebrating with their Honors Gala 2017. From Gallery Aferro to Gateway Project Spaces, Newark celebrates diversity in the arts, guaranteeing everyone a seat at the table. Taking as their aim improvement of Newark citizens' lives through art and culture, tonight seizes the chance to honor all the hard work and effort that has gone into sustaining the Newark arts community as the area undergoes change and upheaval. 

Featuring Empire actor Tobias Truvillion as celebrity host, guests of honor include architect Richard Meier, jazz musician Paquito D'Rivera, visual artist Willie Cole and artist/historian Nell Painter. The event takes place from 6-10 pm at Avenue A Club in Newark, NJ: while event tickets are sold out, come out for available tickets at the door for the 8-10 pm afterparty ($125/ticket) to support greater opportunities to enrich the Newark arts & cultural community. 

More information available at https://newarkarts.org/gala/

The Ambivalent Promise of Tomorrow: Delano Dunn in Conversation at Long Gallery

With his measured words and assured demeanor, Delano Dunn’s calm presence stands in contrast with his fiercely vibrant artworks currently on display at Long Gallery. No One Can Be This Tomorrow, Dunn’s current exhibit with the gallery, displays the hope of empowerment embodied by Dunn’s portraits of black women, men, and family depicted upon layers of technicolor mixed media. Recently the artist took time to walk through his exhibit and discuss this series along with influences that have shaped Dunn’s artistic practice.

 

Delano Dunn, Jubilee (2016) paper, mylar, cellophane, vinyl, shoe polish, resin on board. Image courtesy Long Gallery.

Delano Dunn, Jubilee (2016) paper, mylar, cellophane, vinyl, shoe polish, resin on board. Image courtesy Long Gallery.

AP  Thanks Delano for meeting to discuss your work today. Can you start by giving us an overview on how your career as an artist has developed until now?

DD I’m originally from South Central LA, and lived there through the (Rodney King) riots in the early ‘90s. I came to Pratt in Brooklyn in 1997, studying to become an illustrator. Originally I was influenced by comic books (I started making comic book art when I was young) and went to Pratt with this in mind as a career. Freshman year at Pratt I switched focus to illustration, looking to make a career in editorial illustrations. I began to focus primarily making art on a regular basis in 2007, working on new works in between other responsibilities. I recently completed my MFA from the School of Visual Arts*, making the switch to becoming a full-time artist. (*Dunn is modest: he completed his MFA with the honor of receiving two awards from SVA, the Edward Zutrau Memorial Award and the Alumni Society Thesis Award.)

AP So attending SVA was a point of entry into the art world full-time?

DD Actually, I was working at the Whitney Museum of American Art prior to SVA. Working with the museum and becoming familiar with the various materials used throughout the building influenced my practice. That, and seeing my grandfather work.

AP What did he do?

DD He is a jack-of-all-trades. He always had old tools and equipment lying around, so I got to play with spare parts and electronics.

AP Definitely sounds like a source of inspiration - I had a similar experience with my family having a shop of old equipment, where my folks would weld.

DD It just opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

AP Can you walk through this series and your recent body of work, In Our Time? What has shifted as you moved into working on No One Can Be This Tomorrow?

DD Sure - for the series No One Can Be This Tomorrow I started focusing on research at New York Public Libraries, particularly the Schomburg Center, last Summer with production beginning in the Fall. The images included in this series span from drawings from the abolition period (1860’s) to photographs from the 20th century, including portraits and caricatures. A large focus for this series was making women and girls visible in the work. This is probably a reaction to having a daughter now; that, and I feel I’ve focused substantially on the black male experience in previous work. In the work (She) Black Tron the androgynous figure is a female Tron, subverting expectations placed on the superhero genre (in which there are few female characters, much less black female superheroes.-ed.)

Delano Dunn, (She) Black Tron (2016) paper, mylar, cellophane, vinyl, shoe polish, resin on board. Image courtesy Long Gallery.

AP Your works seem to have shifted from previous series that emphasize autobiographical elements, such as Everyone Digs Delano Dunn, to research-based methods. Was this a conscious shift as a result of your MFA studies, perhaps?

DD There is some overlap (of these two themes) through my work over time, and in many ways my older work is in dialogue with autobiographical themes, like growing up in LA and not being black enough, liquor store ads in the community, etc. There has always been research in my work, however; this is something I was already doing when I started pursuing my MFA. These studies allowed me to further broaden this part of my practice, making me willing to go headfirst into the research with renewed vigor.

Greg Capullo, Batman (2011) image courtesy DC Comics/artist. 

AP Speaking of influences from your earlier years, you mentioned comic book art. Do you have any notable influences from this genre along with contemporary artists that have informed your practice?

DD I definitely draw from both worlds. On the comic book side two icons are Greg Capullo, the artist for the Spawn and Batman comics, was an early influence along with Rick Leonardi of Spiderman 2099. Contemporary artists - there are so many it’s hard to name them all… Mickalene Thomas, Theaster Gates, Glenn Ligon, Robert Rauschenberg and Richard Diebenkorn, to name a few. Also writers are a major influence on my practice, especially Toni Morrison and James Baldwin.

AP Writers, interesting! That speaks to the profound sense of humanism emanating from your work.

DD Thanks, as much as I enjoy abstract work I feel compelled to be able to relate to the work itself, and feel compassion. This arises in the form of human interaction. Writing has a lot to do with that...I really do want to communicate to people. Some of that illustration practice still lingers, I guess.

AP The content of your works makes an impact, and the textures and tones of the materials are equally fascinating. Can you talk about the source of your materials for this series of work, how you select them and their significance?

DD There’s a real layering of histories and eras inherent to these works. The wallpaper included in some of these pieces are sourced from a church that historically welcomed refugees in Grand Rapids, MI. This material thus has a loaded history that responds directly to the election. The colors included in many of these works spans the rainbow, which is intentional: when you examine a rainbow, it’s meant to stand for acceptance, for hope and diversity, and yet the rainbow itself is an optical illusion. You can’t touch a rainbow. This election, so much positivity, hope for a diverse presidential legacy - potentially going from the first black president in the white house to the first female president - was stifled. I see this as a real blow to women. We now have an oppressor who’s wiping out the identities and importance of female figureheads, and by depicting these women throughout this series of works I’m hoping to reclaim these identities in a sense.

Delano Dunn, Sunday Shoes (2016) paper, mylar, cellophane, vinyl, shoe polish, resin on board. Image courtesy Long Gallery.

Delano Dunn, Sunday Shoes (2016) paper, mylar, cellophane, vinyl, shoe polish, resin on board. Image courtesy Long Gallery.

AP This idea of legacy is interesting to me - do you feel like through history, things haven’t really changed or progressed as much as we believe they have?

DD I think things haven’t changed, but they have been re-branded, from emancipation through Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Era...it’s always seemed like things have changed, but they really haven’t. There’s not any less of a problem, just different problems. It’s sad in a way; there’s a feeling that in this time period when we could’ve had real advancement we really haven’t. It’s ridiculously that there hasn’t been a female president. When you look at the space program the USSR helmed they included women and black astronauts before the US did - we don’t live in a post-black or post-gender era, not in the slightest. -AP


Delano Dunn will be in conversation with Khalil Gibran Muhammad at Long Gallery from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm on Monday, March 27th produced by Sanaa Contemporary - info available here.

To attend, please RSVP to: rsvp@sanaa-contemporary.com

Material and Process Exalted at Equity Gallery's FemiNest, Curated by Melinda Wang + Heather Zises

Soft cascades and sharp angles meet the viewer head-on in equal measure at FemiNest, a group exhibition of work by women artists on view at Equity Gallery through Saturday, March 25. A formidable tour of the possibilities present within contemporary sculpture, assemblage and painting, the artists - Natalie Frank, Karen Lee Williams, Michele Oka Doner, Barbara Segal, Page Turner & Vadis Turner – each produce confounding and challenging works.

An array of practices trace artistic development through a variety of materials: hard marble sculptures are situated near assemblage works incorporating wood and fabric, while soft sculpture and resin-covered fabric 2-D sculptures vie for attention at the gallery’s entry. The clever and cogent curation of these works brings these artworks to life in an appropriate dialogue around what constitutes "feminine" and "feminist" art.

Karen Lee Williams, L-->R: MAW - Violence in Mind (2017) and MAW - Bile (2017), both cotton cord, dye and steel

Karen Lee Williams, L-->R: MAW - Violence in Mind (2017) and MAW - Bile (2017), both cotton cord, dye and steel

 

Entering the gallery, the viewer is presented with structured, 2-D fabric sculptures created from re-purposed ribbon and, intermittently, resin. Based in Nashville, TN, artist Vadis Turner works with upcycled textiles to create abstract and tactile 2-D sculptures that examine complex histories of material and process which also navigate and unpack the loaded meaning of “women’s work”. By incorporating sections of resin into her work, Turner blurs the lines between hard and soft, craft and high art, indelibly questioning why these binaries exist to begin with.

Arranged in close proximity to Turner's complex pieces are Karen Lee Williams' soft sculpture series, Maws, in which simple forms and implied movement delineate the lines between inviting and sinister structures. Using only dyed cotton rope and steel, these works offer the illusion of giving and receiving in turn: wrapping cord through a steel hoop that reaches down into darkness with one Maw while approaching the visitor's feet with another piece. These loose, abstract pieces provoke a visceral response with their simplicity of material and minimal use of form. 

Natalie Frank, Couple in Interior I (2016), oil on board

Natalie Frank, Couple in Interior I (2016), oil on board

Moving further into the gallery, viewers encounters Natalie Frank's unnerving paintings, Couple in Interior I & Couple in Interior II.  With obscured backgrounds that portray residential interiors with seated figures conspiring with and against one another, promises of sensuality and violence abound in these evocative paintings. The only oil on board works in the show, hints of Francis Bacon and John Currin haunt Frank's discerning practice, resulting in a disorienting view of the inherent power structure laced into gender relations. Luckily, a short visual breathing space occurs between these works and Michele Oka Doner's pieces just off to the visitor's left - allowing a palette cleanse before encountering a vitrine packed with empowering objects and relics.

Michele Oka Doner, Objects (2017) mixed materials

Michele Oka Doner, Objects (2017) mixed materials

Details: Michele Oka Doner, Objects (2017)

Details: Michele Oka Doner, Objects (2017)

A skilled artist and designer, Doner's holistic worldview and celebration of the inherent power of womanhood is imbued within her human-scale sculptures and found artifacts. Referencing the ancient and commanding a strong visual and psychological presence, Doner's works range from delicate to firm, to a combination of the two. Combining a range of organic materials from wood to shells to bone, Doner's synthesis of natural elements and design create a sense of unity with the natural world. Upon reaching the final section of the gallery, visitors are met with Barbara Segal's cheeky sculptures and Page Turner's elaborate assemblage works. Segal's works, created from Belgian black marble and alternately with Carrera white marble and bronze, create objects of feminine sensuality from this cold, dense stone. A former student of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Segal is a classically trained sculptor whose work has evolved to incorporate power symbols and pop culture, referencing iconic feminine symbols of status and beauty. This combination of hard and soft, and cold and sensual, evokes a sense of discomfort and serves as an unsettling look at function vs. form: these bodice forms, so realistic, could never be realistically worn. 

Page Turner, L-->R Tiny Toes (2012), Merry Jane (2014) and Headmistress Harpie (2011), all assemblage incorporating personal and found/family objects

Page Turner, L-->R Tiny Toes (2012), Merry Jane (2014) and Headmistress Harpie (2011), all assemblage incorporating personal and found/family objects

In dialogue with Segal's works the viewer encounters the quirky and dedicated 3D assemblages of Page Turner. Raised with strong sense of Mormon beliefs,  Turner, who lives and works in Roanoke, VA, creates unique works that reflect her spiritual practice and a strong focus upon materiality. Using a variety of found materials such as fur, wood, shells, paper, and bone, each anthropomorphic form takes on a powerful psychological presence, blending Surrealism and Dada into a decidedly new feminist aesthetic. The inclusion of domestic fabrics and natural materials are a perfect end note to the range and impact of the exhibition’s visual presence. Encompassing multipurpose materials yet forming a clean, powerful aesthetic emblazoned with evidence of skill and mastery, these works by women artists are a clear indication that feminist art has a long and storied future ahead.

FemiNest is curated by Melinda Wang, Executive Director of Equity Gallery and Heather Zises, Founder of (READ)art and is on view at Equity Gallery (245 Broome Street, ground floor) until March 25, 2017. For more information visit nyartistsequity.org or contact info@nyartistsequity.org.

 

Dive into REFRESH at RUSH Gallery Thursday, Feb 23 from 6-9 pm

Just in time for women's history month, Art In Flux is collaborating with an all-star roster of female artists on REFRESH, taking an artful look at social justice in this group exhibition at RUSH Gallery in Chelsea. Opening Thursday, February 23rd at 6 pm, REFRESH echoes demonstrations of women's solidarity, such as the Women's Marches worldwide, in examining and critically engaging with the role women artists play in community involvement and urban life. 

detail of What’s for dinner, Suprina, mixed media, 2017, 34” x 22” x 18”, on view in REFRESH at RUSH Arts gallery

detail of What’s for dinner, Suprina, mixed media, 2017, 34” x 22” x 18”on view in REFRESH at RUSH Arts gallery

Incorporating mixed-media artworks made of reclaimed materials and fabric, the diverse  works on view span artistic mediums. This wide range reflects the artists' keen inquiry into topics such as social justice, community building, and re-use. REFRESH is curated by Art in Flux Director Leanne Stella and features Alicia Grullón, Aya Rodriguez-Izumi, Elan, Leslie Jiménez, Rejin Leys, Shani Peters, Sui Park and Suprina. The show is on view from February 23 through March 25, 2017 at RUSH Gallery on view from Wed-Sun from 12-6 pm. 

Water, Leslie Jimenez, Stitched drawing, 2017, 6.5” x 8.5”, on view in REFRESH at RUSH Arts gallery

Water, Leslie Jimenez, Stitched drawing, 2017, 6.5” x 8.5”, on view in REFRESH at RUSH Arts gallery

Art in Flux creates opportunities for artists by reclaiming unique spaces for art exhibitions and provides greater accessibility and opportunities for artists. 

Rush Arts Gallery focuses on supporting emerging artists, curators and writers from around the globe and provides an inclusive space for experimentation and community involvement.