Ceremonies of Summer

Frederico Sève Gallery / Latincollector, New York
July 17 – September 13, 2008

Frederico Seve/Latincollector Gallery is pleased to announce Ceremonies of Summer, a multimedia exhibition curated by Mónica Espinel. The exhibition is an homage to Marta Traba, critic, author, curator and historian, and was inspired by her first novel “Las ceremonias del verano” published in 1966. The show includes an eclectic group of artists whose work explores the polarities between transience and being present and the ephemerality of experience and its residues.

The book is a highly introspective chronicle about time, heightened awareness and self-discovery, told through an almost maniacal depiction of the colors, sounds and smells of different cities in summertime and through the character’s restless search for a place to call home. In a pseudo-autobiographical manner, Traba recorded her encounters with people and the feelings aroused during her travels in an array of reminisced and imagined cities including Buenos Aires, Paris, New York and Bogotá. Traba explores the ways in which we mediate and construct our environment and establishes a tenuous balance between the here and now, including the physicality and transience of our surroundings.  Her writing serves as a kind of wandering and addresses the fascinating question of emigration and self-definition, creating a space where imaginary flight, the past, personal narrative and critique all intersect in a kaleidoscopic flow of places and emotions.

“Las ceremonias del verano” created an ideal departure point to bring together artists whose work is self-reflexive and exudes similar sensibilities.  Angela Freiberger’s Mood Swings, a marble sculpture and video, explores the palpability of a trace and the malleability of place and time; the black & white photographs of André Cypriano and Miguel Rio Branco depict contemplation beatified by solitude; Lina Gonzalez’s sculpture Migrar presents a double edged chronicle of departure; Luis Cantillo’s animation 21 Sundays depicts the soporific state of an individual’s ruminations in the desert; Lishan Chang’s large-scale collages depict the unrelenting disfiguration of traveled landscapes; Soledad Arias’ you are here flickers incandescent palpitations, subtle reminders that the present is both a moment of stasis and suspension.

Love like With And Low, like I dug, an installation by Sebastián Patané Masuelli is about a woman whose heightened susceptibility to stimuli threatens her everyday with an inability to deal with fragmentary and unresolved experience. Similarly, Santiago Picatoste’s hyperbolized paintings of flowers are pictorial elaborations of the derangement of the senses and are juxtaposed to drawings by Jorge Julián Aristizábal like Hairy Ladder, which reinvent and challenge our perception of known objects evoking latent meanings.

Fanny Sanín: A Chromatic Journey, 1966-2006

Frederico Sève Gallery / Latincollector, New York
May 1 – June 14, 2008

Frederico Seve/Latincollector Gallery is pleased to announce a retrospective exhibition of paintings by Fanny Sanín. A Chromatic Journey, 1966 – 2006 presents Sanín’s exploration undertaken with color as the thread that links the various phases of her work. This small survey enables viewers to embark on a visual voyage through forty years of creation that generate an interesting discussion of the painter’s artistic development.

Sanín’s trajectory can be seen, in a way, as the history of her personal treatment of color. Speaking of her works Edward Sullivan wrote, “in Sanín’s work the most unexpected colors coexist in a state of harmony that would be unimaginable in the art of a more conventional personality.” Oil No. 8, 1966, a masterpiece of painterly abstraction already anticipates Sanín’s penchant for color that was to become her trademark. The work’s conglomeration of fluid forms in hundreds of hues ranging from a core of soft blue aiming for proximity to a brilliant red, displays a freedom that by 1968 was to undergo a transformation when she took a step toward hard edge works. By the mid seventies the dominance of order and Sanín’s perfectionist tendency toward beauty becomes apparent in works like Acrylic No. 4, 1977, Acrylic No. 3, 1993 and Acrylic No. 1, 1994. Sanín’s dexterity and keen intuition for chromatic combinations demonstrates an unparalleled continuity that never repeats itself and remains as affecting as it was in the early stages of her career. However, in the last decade she has with increased momentum begun making works that are bursting with a new force. Intensely vivid canvases such Acrylic No. 2, 2005 display an increased exuberance and have become more daring in their juxtapositions.

Sanín’s Chromatic Journey has been a celebration of color, whose ecstatic cadences are illustrative of the Utopian spirit embedded in her work. Having worked outside of any group affiliation and eloping the sixties wave of figuration, Sanín has remained faithful to the principles of formalist abstraction yet her work eludes any strict categorization. Her oeuvre is the result of a personal questioning that negotiates between the legacy of Matisse’s and Kandinsky’s preoccupation with color, Mondrian’s neoplasticism and Russian Constructivism; it relates to modes of minimalism, color field and hard edge painting. However, Sanín’s explorations have taken their lessons and discovered a way to temper the severity of geometry with intuitive chromatic adjustments.

Fanny Sanín is one of Latin America’s most distinguished and well-respected abstract painters. Sanín studied at the University of the Andes in Colombia and pursued graduate studies at the University of Illinois and the Chelsea School of Art in London. Her work has been included in over 300 shows, and was included in the landmark exhibition Latin American Women Artists 1915-1995, which opened at the Milwaukee Art Museum and traveled throughout the United States. Most recently she had a retrospective at the Instituto Italo-Latino Americano in Rome and was awarded an Honorable Mention by the National Arts Club, New York.

CRACKERFARM

Gramercy Post, New York
May 4 – June 18, 2005

In its second collaboration with emerging artists, Gramercy Post is pleased to present Crackerfarm, an artist collective comprised of photographers Mike Beyer and Lindsey Rome. Their photography is a strange brew, a kind of self-reflective ethnography that evokes Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road”. Like Sal Paradise’s strong desire to see and be on the road, Crackerfarm thirsts for this way of life. Their photographs read like a thinly fictionalized autobiography, filled with a cast made of friends, relatives and strangers encountered in their travels, at times permeated by photographs of each other.

Playing out feelings and visions, they compose very personal scenes which are left rough so that the viewers can puzzle out their own stories. Recalling the narratives constructed by Lewis Carroll or when taking on different personas Cindy Sherman’s Film Stills, their photographs have a plush, cinematographic look, often imbued with an old-fashioned beauty.

Poetic, open and raw, Crackerfarm’s timeless portraits are unflattering yet weirdly seductive. Each one is recorded with affection regardless of who the sitter is. Whether shooting a toothless bodega proprietor from the Lower East Side, rural outbackers, or bands such as “Franz Ferdinand” and “Bloc Party”, every image conveys a sense of intimacy and sincerity giving a voice to each individual.

Sexier than Chuck Close and more humanistic than Arbus, Crackerfarm’s photographs combine a stark sense of compassion with a playful earthiness that is as welcome as it is unexpected. The duo also manages to achieve an extraordinary timelessness that leads one to wonder if their black and white studies of faces were shot in 2005, 1955, or 1915. Intimate without being intrusive, candid without being undignified, Crackerfarm invest their subjects with a majestic quality that overrides the bleak context of their surroundings: crumbling walls, chipped paint, ripped wallpaper, wood-paneling. Indeed, bleakness is a powerful presence in their work, lending their photographs a touch of gothic darkness that smacks of addiction. “Sadness is a compelling storyteller,” remarks Beyer. “Our work is colored by human hardship and an appreciation for life through it all.”

Beyer and Rome met three years ago at Manhattan’s prestigious School of Visual Arts (SVA), where both were pursuing a BFA in photography, earned in 2004. Brought together by a common aesthetic and a shared experience in overcoming personal demons, the duo began collaborating on portraits not only of each other, but of dolls, mannequins, and a range of similarly humanoid inanimate objects. Encouraged by SVA alum and rock and roll photographer extraordinaire Clay Patrick McBride, Beyer and Rome began shooting portraits of anyone they could get their hands on – family members, friends, musicians, and strangers.

Denise Schatz – Signal if you Can’t Breathe

Gramercy Post, New York
February 16 – April 2, 2005

Gramercy Post is pleased to open its collaboration with emerging artists with an exhibition of work by Denise Schatz curated by Monica Espinel. Schatz makes collages and works on paper, using magazine cut-outs, graphite and colored pencils. She creates delicate, layered scenes where animals, molecules, body parts and plants collide and coexist, free from the viewer’s prior associations.

Schatz’s visual vocabulary opens itself up to a variety of references ranging from the prints of Albrecht Dürer and 17th Century Dutch still life, to surrealist figures such as Max Ernst. Schatz juxtaposes images that she gathers from her sketches and clippings, deftly constructing miniature incidents, explosions, and force lines that envelop her characters. Through recurring motifs of birds and hares, Schatz invents her own highly personalized language, a relaxed naturalism that seems a bit childlike at moments in its conviction that the world is an enchanted, yet dire place. In her work, Schatz deals with conflicting themes of traditional beauty and raw beauty, its energy and mutability, with a witty edge.

In “Signal if you can’t Breathe,” Schatz presents five drawings in a series naively constructed, almost imperceptible. From beginning to end, there is an assertion of gravity, which swoops the characters powerfully from one drawing to the next. Amongst these curved, organic pieces there is a manifestation of Schatz’s engagement with nature, as surfaces and textures are wonderfully rendered in legible tiny graphite marks and hints of soft pink and red that add a further level of intelligibility to the patterns of time and change.

After receiving her BFA from Hunter College, Denise Schatz is completing her MFA, also at Hunter College.

Black Milk: Theories on Suicide

Marvelli Gallery, New York
June 30 – July 31, 2004

Marvelli Gallery is pleased to present Black Milk: Theories on Suicide, a group exhibition curated by Monica Espinel, that brings together young contemporary artists whose work touches on issues related to suicide. The multimedia exhibition will include work by Charles Cohen, Ian Cooper, Elizabeth Gray & Molly Smith, Rachel Howe, Jasmine Kastel, Molly Larkey, Rahshia Linendoll, Tim Maxwell, McCallum & Tarry, Alex McQuilkin, Adam Pendleton, Mike Quinn, Shelly Silver and Angela Strassheim.

As a heightened awareness about mental illness permeates our culture and the taboo surrounding suicide is progressively reduced, works dealing with suicide begin to appear more frequently on the art scene. Focusing on a psychological approach to the subject, the show aims to present an intimate view of this loaded issue. In the works presented there is a pervasive sense of introspection and a psychological complexity that in many cases is tangentially autobiographical.

Rachel Howe’s drawings expose the emotional and psychological tensions of adolescence by looking at the distance between experience and its representation in the media, which tends to objectify the life of teenagers. Shelly Silver presents “Suicide” a feature-length fiction of a woman’s voyages through Asia, Europe and Central America, chronicling her fiercely hopeful and desperate search for a reason to continue living. Angela Strassheim’s beautiful, hyper-realistic and disquieting group of color photographs suggests an allusive narrative that ends in suicide. Molly Larkey creates spare, yet evocative drawings by painstakingly re-creating drafts or sketches of well-known works by artists, writers, and musicians who have taken their own lives.

In “Mood Lighting for the Room Where Dad Should Kill Himself”, Mike Quinn stages an installation of a room comprised of both ready-made objects and original works, where he presents things that people do to combat and veil the pain of everyday life such as sports, drugs and religion. Adam Pendleton’s ambiguously self-empowering and poetic text pieces challenge the viewer to ultimately escape his destiny. Rahshia Linendoll’s series of photographs “Enid” creates a repetitive and overwhelming environment within each photograph, which speaks of the intimate struggle of its self-obsessed character. Ian Cooper’s sculpture of forget-me-not wreaths enclosing phone jacks connected to tangled wires that are configured into a skull, places in the foreground issues like alienation, separation and death. Jasmine Kastel’s “Nancy Jane” is a compelling and honest account of events that have tainted the artist’s view on suicide.

McCallum & Tarry present an associative visual narrative that reveals the struggle to break the cycle of reoccurring suffering and grief. Elizabeth Gray’s video “Cliffwalk” starring Molly Smith is beautiful, surreal and unnerving. Shot on a rocky beach front, the camera follows a woman’s feet in glamorous high heels as she traverses the perilous terrain. The sound of her heels against the rock and the waves crashing below create a repetitive pattern that highlights the tension and discomfort in this ambiguous moment. Charles Cohen presents “Indicators”, an uncontrollable spill of arrows pointing in every direction and functioning as metaphors for a chaotic and dysfunctional state of mind.