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A SPACE FOR THOUGHT
MARINA ADAMS, MEQUITTA AHUJA, FIRELEI BÁEZ, KRISTIN BAKER,
ELLEN BERKENBLIT, AMY FELDMAN, SUZANNE MCCLELLAND,
JOANNA POUSETTE-DART, JACKIE SACCOCCIO, BETTY TOMPKINS,
ANNE VIEUX, ROBIN F. WILLIAMS, MARGO WOLOWIEC, ALLISON ZUCKERMAN
30 NOVEMBER 2017 | 10 FEBRUARY 2018
OPENING 30 NOVEMBER 2017 | 7-9 PM
Brand New Gallery is pleased to present “A space for thought”, a group exhibition with fourteen artists who are experimenting the possibilities of the painting act.
The show aims to explore and present the different trends, figurative and abstract, following the freedom of the artists’ styles.
“A space for thought” is an invite to create and to think and it also refers to the potentialities of painting in the contemporary age.
Marina Adams (1960, Orange, NJ) creates undulating, interlocking shapes that reveal a powerful internal rhythm beneath their surface simplicity. The artist composition takes place from Henri Matisse, Willem de Kooning and Joan Mitchell, as well as from the rich designs of Moroccan rugs or from the Alhambra palace’s decorative patterns. Unlike many contemporary artists, who deliberately blur the line between figurative and abstract, Adams’ current work is unabashedly abstract, allowing the artist to playing with sheer color, form and pattern.
The work of Mequitta Ahuja (1976, Grand Rapids, MI) is characterized by biographical and intimate research, linked to her origins, to anthropological images taken by African and Asian cultures. Ahuja’s intricate process begins with photographs of herself performing in front of the camera. Using these captured moments as inspiration, she then builds the surface of the painting with marks, patterning, and stamping, weaving a ground as integral and forceful as the protagonist at the picture’s center.
Firelei Báez (1981, Santiago de lo Caballeros, DO) takes inspiration for her pieces from natural elements, especially from the brilliant landscapes of the Caribbean, with local flora and fauna. They are a perfect blend between abstraction and form. Female shapes magically unravel out of abstraction texture.
Kristin Baker (1975, Stamford, CT) presents two of her typical dynamic energetic paintings. In Subaqueous the viewer is below water looking up at the surface. The sun and the rays of light captured by the water are both above and straight ahead and create a space that is more cerebral than physical. Joyride represents driving on the highway. The forms and gestures are focused on the immediacy and allure of the road and lights passing by while sitting still and staring.
Ellen Berkenblit (1958, Paterson, NJ) presents her “calico” paintings, a floral patterned cotton textile that is a personally resonant yet commonplace material, which she discovered handles paint in a unique way. She starts with pieces of calico, sewing one to the next in rectilinear swaths to create an improvised fabric ‘drawing’. She then maps lines through spontaneous calligraphic gestures of her brush. The artist does not approach a canvas knowing what the final result will be.
Amy Feldman’s (1981, New Windsor, NY) experience takes from itself with gray acrylic paint on an oversized gray or white canvas, to reach the universe; her paintings retain the nonchalant, gestural quality of the original doodles. It’s a quick method, the works are finished in one session, and never returned to. It’s a paint performance.
Suzanne McClelland’s (1959, Jacksonville, FL) subjects are the world’s highest-paid actors and rap musicians. These paintings investigate the semantic gap between a signifier and its referent; in this case, the bodily measurements and incomes of famous, wealthy men. The artist emphasizes and inhabits the gulf between numbers and the people they supposedly represent and, in doing so, calls into question societal modes of representing and evaluating an individual’s value.
Joanna Pousette-Dart’s (1947, New York, NY) works have evolved out of her perceptions of the landscape of the American Southwest where she have lived and worked. The balancing of multiple shaped panels became a means to suggest the curvature of vast space and the constant shifting of light and form within its expanses.
Jackie Saccoccio’s (1963, Providence, RI) portrait series continues in these new paintings as she focuses on absence, Portrait (Sparita), and humanity’s fragility, as depicted by Herman Melville’s distressed ship metaphor via J.H. Turner Portrait (Turner) and in Portrait (La Muta) after the Rafael painting of the same nomenclature. These works were completed during a residency at Civitella Ranieri in Umbertide this autumn.
A pioneering, feminist artist, Betty Tompkins (1945, Washington D.C.) is best known for her direct depiction of the female body and sexuality. Tompkins creates paintings, drawings and photographs that often takes as their starting point images found in mainstream pornographic magazines, using them to create classically works. Through her work with a taboo, she has created a platform to reframe female sexuality, and to powerfully reposition the female body.
Anne Vieux (1985, Michigan, NY) explores the effects of light and materiality through the language of abstract painting. Her process involves scanning holographic paper then pushing the limits of the image data through zooming, warping, and repetition. The manipulated images are then printed onto a textured synthetic fabric where she adds her final touch using airbrushed acrylic paint and matte medium gel.
Through the works Never Ending Story and The Getaway Robin F. Williams (1984, Columbus, OH) extends her long standing interest in gender roles to the strangeness of feminine identity now. The works bring together a variety of painting techniques. Williams’ work explores the myriad manifestations of desire, and the tension between what her subjects are told, what they are supposed to feel and what they feel internally.
Margo Wolowiec (1985, Detroit, MI) investigates the visual trends of cyberspace, particularly those of social media, which she sees as conflicted systems that entangle the private with the corporate. Her intricately hand-woven panels use imagery sourced from the Internet that she finds by writing her own algorithms that tap into trending hashtags.
Also Allison Zuckerman (1990, Harrisburg, PA) draws inspiration for her pieces from social media, as Instagram. Her work begins as a painting she creates entirely herself. Once finished, she’ll photograph it and scan into the computer, then combines it with art historic imagery and pop culture references. Her work takes an irreverent stance towards male dominated art history. She loves the work of Picasso and Titian, Rubens and Matisse, but isn’t afraid to poke fun at them.