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Die Wunderkammer; Objects of Virtue

Thanks to the generosity of artist Lori Field, I recently had the pleasure of attending the VIP opening of a new exhibition, Die Wunderkammer; Objects of Virtue. Curated by Jason Patrick Voegele and Keith Schweitzer of Republic Worldwide this wondrous exhibition is installed at a new gallery called The Lodge at 131 Chrystie Street in New York City. This block of Chrystie Street is jam packed with wunderkammer goodness thanks to speakeasy Fig 19 and its neighbor, Home Sweet Home, which both boast a beautiful collection of taxidermy and curio. I think the entire cast of Oddities NY was in attendance.

Republic Worldwide is a team of curators and art consultants who put together some wonderfully inspiring group shows in unlikely places (not an easy thing to do). Their website describes this particular exhibition simply:

Open to the public from March 21st through May 1st, 2013, Republic Worldwide deconstructs and reimagines the traditional Wunderkammer through works by over a dozen New York based contemporary artists that will stoke your sense of wonder and odd delight. Artists include Paul Brainard, Kate Clark, Lori Field, Aaron Johnson, Melora Kuhn, Dennis McNett, Hayley McCulloch, Pop Mortem, Lucia Pedi, Mac Premo, Graham Preston, Christy Rupp, Tom Sanford, Sigrid Sarda and Madeline Von Foerster. Curated by Keith Schweitzer and Jason Patrick Voegele.

Anyone in New York tonight can visit the public opening of the exhibition – details in the flyer above and their facebook event page. Here’s a brief sneak peek at the exhibition (all photos by Samantha Levin):

Sigrid Sarda | "Memento Mori" (detail) | mixed media, 13.5x13.5x12 in


Kate Clark | "Rivalry" (installation view) | baboon hide, foam, clay, pins, thread, rubber eyes, rope, 48x48x84 inches


Kate Clark | "Rivalry" (detail) | baboon hide, foam, clay, pins, thread, rubber eyes, rope, 48x48x84 inches


Kate Clark with her sculpture "Rivalry"


Lori Field | "Cold War" | silverpoint on black ground

Madeline von Foerster | "Reliquary for Saartjie" | oil

on panel, 21x18 in

Christy Rupp | "Ivory II (Walrus Tusk with COREXIT Dispersant Chemical Molecule Structure 2 | wax, mixed media, dimensions variable


Mac Premo | "Totally Stick Your Head In This Hole" (detail) | wood, drill, mixed media, dimensions variable


Mac Premo | "Totally Stick Your Head In This Hole" (reading directions) | wood, drill, mixed media, dimensions variable


Mac Premo | "Totally Stick Your Head In This Hole" (head in hole - no, I'm not going to tell you what happened to her.) | wood, drill, mixed media, dimensions variable


Dennis McNett | "Wolfbat Spirit Wolf" | wood, paper mache, woodcut prints, dimensions variable


Aaron Johnson | "Voodoo Child" | acrylic on polyester knit mesh, 40x32 inches


Aaron Johnson | "Voodoo Child" (detail showing layering) | acrylic on polyester knit mesh, 40x32 inches

New Prints by Nicoletta Ceccoli

From a quick glance, Nicoletta Ceccoli‘s porcelain creatures, in their odd, sticky-sweet surroundings seem a bit like illustrations for children’s books. The artist’s palette of childhood pastels and ghostly whites, softly rendered into gentle forms, are nurturing and inviting. This lure gives way quickly, revealing the uncanny, visceral qualities of her creatures’ gestures and facial expressions, belying their innocence and emotively exploring the confusion of adulthood. They are, in their surreality, uncomfortably real.

In connection with Nicoletta Ceccoli’s new exhibition Eye Candy, AFA Gallery is offering up some new, gorgeous, exclusive prints on their site that you can purchase here. Her new original paintings will be on view at AFA from November 17th through February 3rd, 2013.

Huff and Puff…

Huff and puff as much as you want, but New York Galleries are made of brick, fuck you very much, Sandy.

If you don’t already know, Hurricane Sandy has severely hurt the New York art scene. Gotham has never experienced this kind of thing before (we’ve been flooded, but not to this degree). Everyone living here was taken by surprise when the Lower East Side and Chelsea gallery districts both got badly flooded. Artist studios in Gowanus and Greenpoint areas of Brooklyn were not only flooded, but the waters that filled their buildings are known for being severely polluted. What objects survived have to be handled carefully with gloved hands, and likely discarded as unusable. Sandy didn’t really throw a lot of rain at us, but the surge that came in from the ocean filled up gallery basements and went up as high as 5 feet in ground floor spaces.

Here are some links showing images of the damage wreaked by the storm:

ArtInfo: Hurricane Sandy Leaves Greenpoint Studios Wrecked, Destroying Years of Work

From art critic Jerry Saltz: Saltz’s Devastating Tour Through Chelsea’s Ruined Art Galleries

Hyperallergic’s multiple reports:
New York’s Art World Assessing Impact of Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy Report, 2 Days After
Hurricane Sandy Report, 3 Days After
Hurricane Sandy Report, 4 Days After

Yet, on that negative note, I’m happy to report that many galleries have survived without damage and will be open for business as of this week. Life goes on. If you’re in New York and can make it out, please show these artists your support. Their exhibitions have been interrupted by the storm; they’ve largely missed out on what attention they should have gotten. If you’re not nearby, check out their work online. The list below consists only of Manhattan galleries, unfortunately. If I have time, I’ll expand.

Do send New York all your love and strength. On Wednesday, we’re expecting a furry and fanged nor’easter to try to blow our houses down yet again. Oh, hell no!

∞∞∞

Lori Field‘s exhibition, Wild Horses and Wallflowers , at Claire Oliver Gallery, open until November 24th:

Lori Field | I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did


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Paul Romano’s "Little Battle" at Articulated Gallery

Philadelphia artist, Paul Romano, previously mentioned on The Creep in 2011, just opened an exciting solo exhibition of new artworks at Articulated Gallery in San Francisco. Entitled Little Battle, it is a series of pieces that utilize an eclectic combination of symbols to explore the day to day challenges we endure. It is an exhibition of love and loss, hope and growth.

LEVELER Media created a wonderful video of Paul working in his studio. It’s quite lovely, complimenting the mood of Paul’s artwork quite well. Go check it out here and, if you’re in San Francisco, don’t miss seeing the show which will be up until November 1.

Alix Sloan’s “Awakened” Exhibition Benefits Animals in Need

Alix Sloan of Sloan Fine Arts and AFA Gallery are about to open their newest group exhibition entitled Awakened with an absolutely amazing roster of artists. This exhibition’s focus is on the powerful and positive impact pets have on our lives and in our homes. Prints by Nicoletta Ceccoli, Tom Everhart, Shepard Fairey, Camille Rose Garcia, Daniel Merriam and Marion Peck will be available in a live auction, led by celebrity pet advocate Pia Salk, during the opening reception. To boot, this exhibition will be celebrating the release of Alix Sloan’s new book, Pet Sitter: A Jenna Stack Mystery, which she wrote with writer and journalist Amy Eyrie.

A portion of all sales from the show, including book sales, will be donated to AdoptApet.com, North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption website, to help support the organization’s mission of finding homes for wayward creatures.

Scroll down for a little peek of the artwork that will be on view. Participating artists include:

Jennybird Alcantara, Jessicka Addams, Nicole Alvarez, Nana An, Jean-Pierre Arboleda, Carrie Anne Baade, Rebekah Bogard, Mia Brownell, Tim Burton, Bill Carman, Bryan Cunningham, Jason D’Aquino, Michelle Doll, Peter Drake, Nicole Etienne, Tom Everhart, Eric Finzi, Marc Finzi, Erik Foss, Camille Rose Garcia, Theodor Geisel, Kady Grant, Leontine Greenberg, Linda Griggs, Gris Grimly, Evan B. Harris, Jason Holley, Anthony Iacono, Kate Javens, Lisa Lebofsky, Travis Louie, Julia Marchand, Elizabeth McGrath, Daniel Merriam, Gabriela Mesa-Jonassen, Scott Musgrove, Kathie Olivas & Brandt Peters, Joshua Petker, Ransom & Mitchell, Kirk Reinert, Martha Rich, Paul Richard, Ron Richter, Chris Roberts-Antieu, Jean-Pierre Roy, Jonny Ruzzo, Isabel Samaras, Charles M. Schulz, Ryan Scully, Maurice Sendak, Heather Sherman, Nathan Skiles, Sally Sloan, Aaron Smith, Owen Smith, Nathan Spoor, Jonathan Viner, Melanie Vote, Lindsey Way, Casey Wedlon, Eric White and Brad Woodfin.

The show opens this Thursday the 20th, however the opening cocktail reception takes place on the evening of the 22nd.  If you plan on attending, RSVP is required: rsvp@afanyc.com  Hope to see you there!

Travis Louie


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Jeremy Hush’s “At A Loss For Words” Sneak Peek

My recent visit to Philadelphia brought me to the studio of Jeremy Hush who is in the midst of preparing for a new solo exhibition, At a Loss for Words. Jeremy told me that this particular series of works revolves around dispassion; a lying down and giving up. Human figures are depicted white-eyed and comatose, half-buried in forest ground-cover decomposing into the earth. More sentient animals are seen investigating and, in some cases, nesting inside these abandoned idle human husks.

At a Loss For Words could be seen as being politically-minded or personal. The subject-matter is painfully truthful, but the visuals are, as is always the case with Jeremy’s work, elegant and intricate; the creatures delightful and hopeful. This series of works is thus mindful and, to put it plainly, stunning.

Jeremy sent me some photos for me to share, but I also took a few of my own, published below. All shots of the artwork are details or works in progress – I wouldn’t want to spoil them for you before opening night.

Taking place simultaneously with Borrowed Memories, a two-woman exhibition with Stella Im Hultberg and Tran NguyenAt A Loss for Words opens on September 29th and will be on view until October 20th at Thinkspace gallery in Los Angeles.

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Martin Wittfooth Studio Visit and Empire Sneak Peek

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Martin Wittfooth in his studio to see how the paintings from his upcoming exhibition Empire were coming along. It was wonderful to see his working space and to get an idea of how his art comes together. Seemingly the ideal artist loft, the high-ceilinged room was flooded with sunlight from huge industrial windows typical of the art-centric Bushwick, Brooklyn neighborhood.

For this exhibition, Martin has created a number of large format paintings – in some cases larger than he’s worked before – to challenge himself and to excite everyone who follows his works. Much closer to life-size, they are meant to be immersive. His concepts have always been powerful, but in this larger scale he’s been able to exercise his metaphorical muscles, so to speak, giving his statements much more impact. His color palette has also lightened and diversified with this series, although his animalistic symbolic language remains familiar as does his brushwork.

This series explores the notion of empire through a contemporary lens, exploring such issues as the Occupy movement and the opium poppy trade in the middle east, as well as more universal notions such as mass-consumption and greed. To quote Martin, “Despite the protests of naysayers of the idea that the world of today is still largely in the grip and command of the empirical model, it is hard to ignore the lingering sense that history is simply repeating itself.”

Check out the shots of Martin’s studio and details of the new works below.

Empire will be opening on September 15th at Corey Helford Gallery.


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O+ Arts Festival in NY – Health Support for Artists

Update November 13, 2012:

Almost 2,000 people attended the 3rd Annual O+ Festival held in the Historic Stockade District of Uptown Kingston from October 5th through 7th this year. The Festival whose tagline is “Bartering the Art of Medicine for the Medicine of Art,” is based on the provision of free health access to all participating artists and musicians. Bands such as the Felice Brothers performed, and public artwork was displayed throughout Uptown Kingston. In total there were 40 bands, 41 artists, 58 healthcare providers, and 4 dentists. There were 443 hours of care donated, totaling $69,450 worth of free health access. Amazing coverage for this groundbreaking event helped to make this year a tremendous success. All of the money raised goes toward the provision of medical supplies for the event. For more information on O+ or to learn how to become involved next year, please visit: www.opositivefestival.org

One of the most dire problems in the art world is the sheer lack of health service assistance that artists have access to. This is not an acceptable way for a professional artist to live. The risks they take are major; the odds are not in their favor. Artists who depend on their work for income need to find a way for their health to be supported.

Tom Cingel

 

Enter O+, a new festival that was started by a dentist, a doctor, and a couple of artists – all friends – in Kingston, NY (near Woodstock). Their idea is quite simple: Artists come to the festival to perform or show their art, and are ‘paid’ with health care of all kinds ranging from physical therapy, blood tests, dentistry, eye exams and the like. Covering everyone’s healthcare is no simple matter, but much success has been had with the festival thus far. It marks the beginning of a solution to the artist healthcare problem.

Past participating visual artists include: Mike Egan, Thom Grady, Jessica Harrison, Polly M. Law, Denise Orzo, Geddes Jones Paulsen, Kevin Paulsen, Anthony Pontius, Scott Holloway and many others.

Artists can apply to get their artwork into the festival, but it’s highly competitive. The best way to get involved is to volunteer and still get access to some of the health services offered. For details on volunteering, check out the site here.

Taking part in any way means spending Columbus Day weekend in October up in Kingston, NY, which is a short two-hour drive north of Manhattan with bus services leading directly into the heart of the festival. If attending is not feasible for you, spreading the word will help call attention to the festival and help it grow so that more artists can be helped. You may want to consider starting a version of the festival in your city.

Snake image by Paul Heath /// Photos by Jason Sebastian Russo

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Three Shows of Somber Beauty at Nucleus Gallery

Get thee down to Nucleus Gallery for a triple exhibition. There are two solo shows, Stasis and Larvae, from Cam de Leon and Jeremy Enecio respectively. Both of these exhibitions look mind blowing. Both artists mesmerize with their story-telling and painting skills. They are almost visionary in their styles, yet grotesque and surreal overall.

On top of that is a group show entitled Hollow Thoughts: A Skull Show that includes work by Allen Williams, Annita Maslov, Bradley Jay, Charlie Immer, Chris B. Murray, Joshua Harker, Meyoko, Noah Scalin, Patrick Awa, Peter Vattanatham & Fiel Valdez, Scott Scheidly and Travis Louie. It’s so difficult these days to paint or create a skull without being trite…might as well go all out. I’ll never get tired of them. The works in this show are quite impressive.

From all three shows, there are quite a few limited edition prints for sale that you can purchase via Nucleus’s website if you’re nowhere near Los Angeles.

Jeremy Enecio

Cam de Leon

Joshua Harker

Peter Fiel

Guild of the Black Eagle 5 at Fuse Gallery

David Hochbaum enjoys creative collaboration – I believe it’s all related to his love of alchemy and what happens when you mix mysterious, random chemicals together. Will they explode, fizz a little or turn different colors? Sometimes the mixing of artists’ voices brings out surprising, unforgettable results.

The Guild of the Black Eagles is one of these group collaborations of sorts that David has been a part of: “The purpose for [the Guild's] inception was to celebrate and exhibit the growing community of artists circulating around [David's] life.” It began in 2006 as a salon held in his large loft studio space in Manhattan. After 3 more iterations in the same location, an all men’s version of the Guild went to the art fairs in Cologne, Germany in 2010. For this fifth event, the exhibition consists of artwork all by women.

Participating artists: Kristen Ferrell, Danielle de Piccotto, Annie Kyle, Samantha Levin, Philly-KONDOR8, Evelyn Tiernan, Gabriela Vainsencher, Alison Silva, Sara Gage, Zoë Williams, Allison Berkoy and Elka Amorim

Fuse Gallery is located at 93 2nd Avenue (between 5th & 6th Streets).
Guild of the Black Eagle 5 is opening Wednesday night, June 6 at 7pm and will be on view through July 5, 2012.

Zoe Williams | Proboscis


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Kris Kuksi’s Triumph Opens at Joshua Liner

I recently had the pleasure of attending the opening reception for Kris Kuksi‘s latest show, Triumph, at Joshua Liner Gallery. Every time I see his work, it has evolved in some way, which is refreshing to see. Kris’s work has a schtick to it, however each individual piece has its own strength and power overwhelming any threat of triteness. His works are engrossing and can keep your attention for hours tickling your eyes with their beautiful forms and distracting you with their meta-narratives.

When you see Kris’s works in person, it’s important to look into each corner and crevice. Crouch down to look at the undersides of each assemblage so you can take in his works fully – his works could likely be flipped upside down to reveal entirely new worlds. Full of ideas, plays between good and evil, with a touch of humor here and there, it’s hard to stop exploring each work to move on to the next. Regardless of the large crowd, I was able to take some detail shots of his work, shared below.

Kris is also an avid painter. His sculptures have upstaged his oil paintings for the past few years. It was thus nice to see that for Triumph Kris had painted a portrait of artist Ewelina Koszykowska, a large acrylic and mixed media on wood with a raised pattern. This mysterious painting sets the sculptures off quite well, adding color to his stark white palette. Also new is a bronze version of his Churchtank sculpture, its detailed texture and weight add to this already stunning work.

Triumph will be on view until April 7th.

The crowd takes in "Triumph"

Detail view of "Triumph"

Detail view of "Capricorn Rising"


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Judith Schaechter Reveals Her Latest Work

Stained glass maven, Judith Schaechter, recently published images of a very large new stained glass work called “The Battle of Carnival and Lent” on her blog. She created this work specifically for the Eastern State Penitentiary‘s long running art installation program, to which she was accepted last year. She’s been posting progress shots on her blog for a while now – I’ve posted some of them below along with shots of the final work.

The Eastern State Penitentiary is an unbelievably exciting venue for Judith to be showing her work. Like Alcatraz in San Francisco, the defunct jail is open to public tours and has Al Capone’s old cell dressed up the way he kept it back in the day (he was jailed in both locations during his career). Eastern State, however, has kept several of its hallways derelict and unswept, abandoned and dirty. Spaces that have been falling apart and eroding over the years since Philadelphia stopped using it in 1971 are kept in their tender state, dusty with caved-in ceilings. In some cells, knots of old tree roots have moved down and in, further eroding the building’s structure and warping what little light enters.

Judith’s work is self-described as “addressing in a non-religious way the psychological border territory between ‘spiritual aspiration’ and human suffering.” Since the penitentiary, the first of its kind in the United States, was meant to spiritually rehabilitate its tenants, and instead wound up psychologically harming many of them, this new work is an authentic interpretation of the structure’s sordid past.

There are three more small pieces Judith needs to make before the full work is fully finished. All will be installed in the transom of Cellblock 11 starting April 1, if not earlier, and will run for eight months. An opening reception for Judith and other artists involved in the program is scheduled for Friday, May 11, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30.

Images courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery.


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