THE NEW ROMANTICS

curated by Cara DeAngelis and Diana Corvelle
at Mark Miller Gallery, April 6th – May 9th, 2014
read press release



“Romanticism is precisely situated neither in choice of subject nor in exact truth, but in a way of feeling.”
– Charles Baudelaire, 1846

Romanticism of nearly two centuries ago created works of such considerable diversity that the only clear similarities lay in the emphasis on originality, imagination and deep emotional content. Ranging from expressive portraits to epic landscapes, those artists sought to push back against the reasoned order of the Enlightenment by producing emotionally charged works that spoke to their intensely individual perspectives. Today a new Romanticism is emerging among artists who value authentic emotion. The effect is a revival of the Romantic ideal that artists are gifted and singular purveyors of original thought.

The New Romantics explores the characteristic Romantic themes of emotion, nature and grandeur from a distinctly contemporary perspective. At first glance, the globe-spanning environs depicted in Carrie Ann Bracco’s work may appear to be lifted from the past: In Bracco’s  The Traverse, Maparaju, people are dwarfed by the enormity of the natural world much as they would be in a traditional Romantic landscape. However, the Brooklyn-based artist’s extensive travel to remote locales also points to a growing access of all kinds within an increasingly interconnected, post-digital world. Lisa Lebofsky’s shimmering, ethereal landscapes likewise contain the looming presence of global warming, the real effects of which are present concerns for many of the people in the far-flung communities she depicts.

Human feeling is another centerpiece of The New Romantics. The raw emotion of Clara Lieu’s Self-Portrait No. 6 and Self-Portrait No. 22 is palpable. The pair is part of Lieu’s Falling series, a collection of 50 self-portraits in which she confronts her struggle with undiagnosed depression and anxiety from the vantage point of post-treatment. By contrast, the pensive and dazzlingly plumed figure in Heidi Elbers’s Exhale subtly alludes to the fraught issue of coupling outward appearance with perceived inner worth. Inspired and informed by the spirit of Romanticism, the artists of The New Romantics comprise a rich visual trove of emotion and awe, each individually conspicuous and collectively harmonious.

WILDLIFE IN THE POST-NATURAL AGE

curated by Cara DeAngelis
at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, September 7th – October 14th, 2012
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review by Daniel Maidman for the Huffington Post: “Wildlife in the Post-Natural Age”



Images of and concerned with wildlife are thriving in the heart of American cities, from New York to San Francisco. In September, American artists come together in Brooklyn with this exhibit to share what “Wildlife in the Post-Natural Age” looks like. The works range from drawing, to painting, video animation, sculpture, and photography. The artists are widely varied in their approach, but all have an integral connection to the overarching theme.

The show focuses on work that addresses the interplay between wildlife and our domesticated selves and spaces. It probes the persistence of wildlife in American culture and individual imagination through the work of a diverse group of city-based artists. The varied works evoke a reconsideration of the term ‘wild’ in what Gary Snyder has called a Post-Natural Age, and the role that artists are playing in exploring these issues.

RADICAL INTENT

curated by Stephen Shaheen and Michael Namer
at Gallery 151, February 6 – March 28, 2015
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A child’s first stuffed animal. The tarsal of a saint. A purse that costs as much as a car. Subjects of irrational reverence, they remind us of the precarious contingencies of our desires: what we really value are essences, not properties.

In a radical gesture, Duchamp declares a urinal to be Fountain. With radical intentionality, sculptors Sebastian Martorana, Barbara Segal, Stephen Shaheen and Alasdair Thomson anoint metamorphosed lumps of shells as Shirt, Canvas, Cinder Block, Bone. This is not a Chanel bag. Or is it? Both are crafted and craved for their symbolic capital. Yet there is something phenomenologically different when intention is invested through making, by an aggregate of thousands of decisions and an intense realization process requiring years of training. In an era where machines can produce simulacra in marble for anyone with an idea and a credit card, representation comes with new responsibilities—and new implications, when rendered by hand.

These four artists, whose honed skills seem avantgarde in a scene saturated with externalized modes of production, present confoundingly scrupulous works in marble. It is not virtuosity on display, but virtuosic carving in the service of a fierce intention. Objects of devotion pursued obsessively, fetishizations of fetishes, sculpted fetishistically.

TELL THEM STORIES

curated by Marshall Jones and Tun Myaing
at the Art Foundry, Oct 10-Nov 10, 2014
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Tell them stories. They need the truth, you must tell them true stories, and everything will be well, just tell them stories.”
– Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass

Stories are powerful. Through stories we connect with places, with objects, and with one another. Stories foster love and breed hate; they give us new experiences, and allow us to relive old ones; they exist in every act we are proud of, and in every act we regret. Stories have made us what we are.

It was through stories that art began. The primal narratives we painted on the walls of caves evolved into hieroglyphs and pictographs; the prism of time and culture shattered storytelling into African art, Indian art, the art of the Americas, the art of the Renaissance, and countless others – all part of what we today call Art. But our love for stories never left.

In the hands of a skilled artist, a story is more than a record – it is the very spirit of a place, of a time, and of the storyteller herself. In recent history, such storytellers worked under many different labels – illustrators, comic book artists, fine artists. They matured on their own, achieved their own heights, and, ultimately, grew apart. But, as families do, they are now rediscovering each other. This rediscovery is what drives our exhibition: it is our hope to play a role in reassembling the various storytelling disciplines, to reunite their strengths, and to remind the viewer of the oldest and most fundamental of pleasures art can offer. We invite you, the narrative artist, to be part of our show.

Curated by Tun Myaing and Marshall Jones, “Tell Them Stories” will gather the work of narrative painters and draftsmen from various genres and professions. The work ranges between the probing silence of John Jacobsmeyer, the alarming starkness of Tony Dimauro, the deadpan playfulness of Peter Drake, the subtle glamour of Dorian Vallejo, the unabashed and passionate narrative of Gus Storms, and many others. On Oct 10th we will come together at Art Foundry to celebrate storytelling, and to take part in reaffirming the power of narrative in Art.

The show will begin at 6pm, and will exhibit the works of ten artists. Of those ten, three will be comic book artists, three will be fine artists, and four will be illustrators. Prior to the show there will be a two-hour moderated panel discussion addressing the differences and similarities between fine art, illustration and comic book art.

The Art Foundry is an emerging art gallery located on 23rd street on the east side of Manhattan. It is a project space for artists striving towards unity among visual thinkers, the empowerment of conversation, and the dominance of creativity over the market. Tun Myaing, the co-founder of the space, is an academically trained painter and curator dedicated to the many contemporary artists who share that goal.

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HOT DRY MEN / COLD WET WOMEN

curated by Cara DeAngelis
at Mark Miller Gallery, February 6 – March 6, 2015
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review by Jacob Hicks in Quantum Art Review: “Hot Dry Men… Cold Wet Women”



“It being therefore granted, that the Temperament of Man is hot and dry, and that of the Woman cold and moist, we are now to consider, what dispositions these raise in the Soul, and what constitution the whole body receives from them.”
-Marin Cureau de la Chambre, 1665

Hot Dry Men, Cold Wet Women is a show inspired by the now-defunct Theory of the Humors. In part, this theory was used to explain the differences between the sexes. Men were considered to be inherently hot and dry, driving them to a life of action and intellectual pursuit, while women, considered to have a cold and wet humor, were more inclined toward a passive lifestyle.

This theory exacerbated already ingrained societal stereotypes, and invariably left an impression on art history. Men were depicted as warriors, heroes, and gods. ‘Hot’ animals like the horse and lion, as well as fire, frequently stood as visual symbols of man’s heat. In contrast, the most popular depictions of women in history have been in passive, reclining poses. They were often shown near, or enveloped in, sources of water, and cold-blooded animals like the snake were associated with the female humor.

Curated by Cara DeAngelis, Hot Dry Men, Cold Wet Women is inspired by the Humors, and Zirka Filipczack’s book of the same name. The show asserts that although the Humors are now seen as obsolete science, its long-standing hold on Western society and art history has left residual archetypes still held today. As such, this show contains a selection of pieces by contemporary artists whose work, while not directly influenced by the Theory of the Humors, nevertheless displays its influence either overtly or through rebuke.

LUCID VISIONS

curated by Diana Corvelle, Cara DeAngelis and Tun Myaing
at Panepinto Galleries, October 16 – December 5, 2014
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“Often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream.” – Aristotle, “On Dreams”

The territory between wakefulness and the dream-state is one widely traversed by artists. Curators Diana Corvelle, Cara DeAngelis and Tun Myaing have collected the works of twenty-three New York Academy of Art alumni whose works challenge, unhinge and altogether shift perception of what should be called a “real” experience.

Lucid dreaming, a phenomenon in which an individual is aware of their own dream state enough to attempt control within it, is a cannily apt comparison to the creation of art. Possessing the ability to give form to fleeting memories and semi-lucid moments, these artists call into question the very perception of reality at will and offer up alternatives of their own.

Bringing together local and international artists based in Brooklyn, Jersey City, and Manhattan these selected works speak to the endless possible deviations from reality as envisioned by an unfettered mind. The playfulness and confidence of these works show how completely at home the artists are in their alternate reality.

BEHIND THE CURTAIN

curated by Trek Lexington, with the assistance of Dina Brodsky and Michelle Doll
at Mark Miller Gallery, October 8th – November 9th, 2014
read press release
Trek Lexington’s interview with Kate Messinger in the Wild Magazine: “Exhibit Exposes the Artists Behind the Artists”
article by Summer Dawn Hortillosa for the Jersey Journal: “Behind the Curtain”
review by Jacob Hicks and Angela Gram in Quantum Arts Review: “Behind the Curtain, Preview”
article by Scott Goodwillie for The Great Nude: “Behind the Curtain at Mark Miller Gallery”



Mark Miller Gallery is pleased to announce Behind the Curtain, an exhibition of works by artists previously and currently employed as assistants to Jeff Koons, Mark Tansey, Eric Fischl, Alex Melamid, Mickalene Thomas, Donald Baechler, Kehinde Wiley, Barry X Ball, Dirk Skreber, Red Grooms, Yigal Ozeri, Sol LeWitt, Odd Nerdrum, Bo Bartlett, Julie Heffernan and others. Behind the Curtain is curated by Trek Lexington, emerging curator of contemporary realism.

Historically, assistants were apprentices to the masters (da Vinci, Van Dyck, etc.) where they developed their artistic technical skills. Contemporary workshops often function in a different way. Some artists may employ just one or two assistants, while others employ dozens to implement their concepts. Assistants’ duties broadly range from the logistical studio tasks to painting large segments of the artist’s vision on the canvas. Many are now hired for their extraordinary talent to complete entire works of art, and they are often working behind the scene without acknowledgement of the tremendous craftsmanship they lend to a final product.

Behind the Curtain reveals a group of 32 talented young artists, whose labor has stood behind the shining names of contemporary masters. This exhibition brings together the work of the assistants to various cultural icons, allowing viewers to experience the dialogue between their creative forces first-hand. This is an opportunity to witness a unique moment of synergy, where the paths of these two generations of artists cross and intertwine.

From romantic drawings by Katie Hemmer, to intricate post-apocalyptic landscapes by Alexis Hilliard, and Steve Shaheen’s postmodern sculptures, Behind the Curtain demonstrates that these artists’ assistants make powerful works in their own right. Many of the artists featured are emerging talents, unrepresented by galleries. Mark Miller Gallery is proud to provide this platform for working artists, waiting in the wings for an entrée into the limelight.

BARELY IMAGINED BEINGS

curated by Dina Brodsky and Michelle Doll
at Proto Gallery, Apr. 11th – May 17th, 2015
read curatorial statement
review by Greg Coffey for Quantum Arts Review: “Barely Imagined Beings”



Curated by Dina Brodsky and Michelle Doll, “Barely Imagined Beings” explores one of the most primordial and persistent dialogues in human history. Where once the natural world played a symbiotic role in everyday human existence, it is now completely divorced from mainstream cultural necessity in today’s Western society. Yet “Barely Imagined Beings” defiantly presents nature as possessing a vital importance to the modern imagination. These artists powerfully narrate its impersonal diversity and disquieting strangeness through work full of lively invention, delicate observation, and solemn reverence.

With phantasmagorical landscapes and bizarre anthropomorphic creatures, “Barely Imagined Beings” is inspired by the infinite biodiversity of nature. It is a place where the artists vision can delve into unknown, otherworldly realms that are both serene and terrifying, macabre and sublime, fantastic and strikingly real.

Anthropomorphism, allegory, and other interpretations of nature usually project humans onto the natural world with symbolism that speaks directly to the subconscious. It is a sensibility in art that stresses the interdependence of living beings, both human and non-human, in a technological age of impersonal and disconnected relationships between individuals. Nature retains its value as a vehicle for expression, and the image of an animal symbolically presents itself in ways that define and redefine our identity. “Barely Imagined Beings” stands as a paramount accomplishment in this dialogue where the animals speak for themselves, and also for us.

BEYOND THE THRESHOLD

curated by Amber Lia-Kloppel and Luis Borrero
at Mark Miller Gallery, September 7, 2014 – October 5, 2014
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The interior: a subject that first surfaced in 17th century Holland, and that abandoned the exactitude of religious painting in favor of something more elusive: the inhabitable space. More than merely domestic landscape, the subject captures the unseen motion of sentient beings; more than a backdrop for a play, it is the narrative of the stage itself, a play where the stage is the protagonist.

Beyond the Threshold is a window into such interiors: vacant desolate rooms, cavernous industrial basements, private washrooms, and intimate living quarters.

Dina Brodsky’s beautifully painted interiors whisper of mysteries and secrets. One imagines the life that made these forgotten spaces as they are, that their thick air holds ghosts and echoes of something important. An immigrant from Soviet Belarus, Dina is no stranger to departure from, and loss of home; her paintings reflect the glimpse of life in the decaying and abandoned crevices of her private universe.

Tun Myaing’s unapologetically miniature format invites the viewer to closely examine the otherwise impersonal and forbidding interiors of his paintings. In the painting The Boiler Room, Tun’s fine technique and meticulous attention to detail compels the viewer to enter the interior, while simultaneously pushing her away with the heavy impact of old metal. There is no innocence or sentimentality in Tun’s compositions; his interiors intrigue the viewer as they hold fast to the unanswered questions within their depths.

Luis Borrero’s paintings retain their absolute stillness even as they allow for the presence of the human figure. An inadvertent voyeur, the viewer finds herself imposing on a private moment between a human being and the surrounding silence. In Man In Tub and Encounter there is a tangible boundary that separates the viewer from an otherwise intimate moment, a dimly lit atmosphere that converges around the naked figure, and a sense of both solitude and a probing, halting sexuality.

Amber Lia-Kloppel’s work also explores the relationship of space and voyeurism. Depicting mainly women, classic targets of the voyeuristic gaze, she uses physical structures to emphasize the viewer’s and subject’s solitude – even as the subject turns her head to gaze back at the viewer. In the painting Peephole, Amber emphasizes the physical separation of the viewer and the figure; the door reasserts the privacy of the figure, separating her from the viewer, and linking both to their respective spaces.

The four artists in this exhibition make work that both invite and forbid the viewer into entering their worlds, leaving them at the threshold: allowed a glimpse of the narrative within, but as a voyeur, not a participant. In a feat of visual alchemy they extract volumes out of silence, and take us along to participate in the stillness of the spaces they visited, observed, and quietly recorded.

LOVE IT, LOCKET, LEAVE IT

curated by Diana Corvelle
at Island Weiss Gallery, December 10, 2014 – January 30, 2015
read curatorial statement
watch video: “Love it, Locket, Leave It”



Translate emotion into object. Broadcast the personal. Distill love and loss. Much and more is asked of artists, and they deliver in spades. Their innermost workings are made flesh through their hands, presented as an extension of themselves, and the viewer is transported. For this exhibition, emerging and established artists step outside of their regular studio practice to investigate the space where large emotional content meets a small container – the locket.

Love It, Locket, Leave It pays homage to the centuries-old custom of devotional and mourning jewelry by inviting contemporary artists to condense their most overwhelming experiences – those of love and loss – into poignant mementos of adoration or lament. By sealing the relics of personal relationships and powerful emotions into a locket, this exhibition gives artists a rare opportunity for both creative expression and release – a chance to love it, locket and leave it.