BEYOND THE THRESHOLD

curated by Amber Lia-Kloppel and Luis Borrero
at Mark Miller Gallery, September 7, 2014 – October 5, 2014
read press release


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.

LOVED AND OBSERVED

curated by Diana Corvelle and  Manu Saluja
at Hersh Fine Arts, June 21st – August 12th, 2014
read press release
review by Angela Gram in Quantum Arts Review: “Loved and Observed: Women in Portraiture”
article by Jeffrey Carlson in Fine Arts Connoisseur: “Loved and Observed”



Hersh Fine Art, of the Long Island Academy of Fine Art, is pleased to announce Loved and Observed, a group exhibition of portraits by twenty-three artists, curated by Diana Corvelle and Manu Saluja. Loved and Observed will be on view from June 21 until August 12, 2014. The artists will be present for an opening on Saturday, June 28 from 6-8pm.

Artists Corvelle and Saluja bring together a dynamic collection of classically trained women whose approach to portraiture ranges from delicate to bold, traditional to nonconformist. Participating artists are Elizabeth Adams-Jones, Erin Anderson, Juliette Aristides, Julie Elizabeth Brady, Aleah Chapin, Diana Corvelle, Michelle Doll, Alia El-Bermani, Alexandra Evans, Shauna Finn, Nanette Fluhr, Nanci France-Vaz, Kristy Gordon, Clarity Haynes, Leah Lopez, Gaetanne Lavoie, Lauren Amalia Redding, Kay Ruane, Manu Saluja, Holly Ann Scoggins, Rabecca Signoriello, Emily Slapin and Maria Teicher.

A majority of the portraits included in the exhibition are of women. In 2009, Loved and Observed artist Alia El-Bermani co-founded the online resource “Women Painting Women” expressly to promote contemporary figurative work of and by women. The intimacy apparent in El-Bermani’s tranquil CaryAnn hints at the depth and appeal of portraying female friendship. Leah by Elizabeth Adams-Jones and Diana and the Beast by Shauna Finn both stem from friendships with fellow exhibiting artists (Leah Lopez and Diana Corvelle, respectively). Depicting women also offers female artists the opportunity to view themselves in a new light. Kay Ruane populates her intricate graphite and gouache interiors with predominantly solitary women beside panoramic picture windows, often as a way to indirectly explore her own identity and relationship to the world.

Another prevailing theme of Loved and Observed is the purposeful blend of traditional skill and contemporary aesthetic. As artist Nanci France-Vaz explains of her narrative portraits, “my paintings combine the lighting techniques of a cinematographer with the methods of the old masters.” Lauren Amalia Redding seamlessly weaves past and present together in Elsa’s Altarpiece II, a diptych of two delicate silverpoint drawings of her grandmother’s hands. Documenting family members is Redding’s way of preserving her Cuban heritage, and her choice of silverpoint as a medium gives an heirloom quality to her drawings that befits the legacy of her subject. Erin Anderson’s hyperrealist oil portraits surrounded by shimmering etched designs literally expose the time-honored practice of painting on copper while at the same time subduing it.

Women’s portraiture has long outgrown expected stereotypes, and the result is as unique as the artist/subject pairings themselves. Maria Teicher’s deftly rendered self-portrait, entitled This Personal Pinnacle, shows a close-up of her face half covered in plastic wrap. The image may remind the viewer uncomfortably of suffocation and mortality, but as allegory it also recalls the broader and more relatable feeling of being trapped or overwhelmed. Clarity Haynes notes that her ongoing series The Breast Portrait Project is “a subversion of traditional purposes of portraiture.” Haynes’s striking, unidealized torsos of ordinary women honor the lives and experiences of her subjects, while also offering women an alternative standard of beauty and strength.

COMPULSION

curated by Dina Brodsky and Maria Kreyn
at Mark Miller Gallery, May 8 – June 7, 2013
read press release
write-up on Art Critical: “Compulsion”
write up on Broke-Ass Stuart: “Compulsion at Mark Miller Gallery”


No commodity is more irreplaceable than human time. While some of us spread it across many undertakings, others focus obsessively on a single endeavor. Compulsion, co-curated by Dina Brodsky and Maria Kreyn, opening at the Mark Miller Gallery on May 8, explores works by artists in the latter category – works that channel hundreds of hours into a single piece of art.

Compulsion celebrates the obsessive efforts of sixteen such artists. Working with different materials, they share an unwavering devotion to executing their visions, producing pieces that are exceptional in their beauty, craftsmanship and technical complexity. These run the gamut from K. Nancy Fang’s ultra-detailed paper filigree sculpture evoking a futuristic, cylindrical cityscape to James Linkous’ meticulous 3D images summoned through drawings on layers of glass. Tun Myaing’s oil on mylar paintings take seemingly common objects and infuse them with the echo of untold stories, while John Haverty’s elaborate ink drawings portray the opposite, a wall-wide sprawl of elaborate storytelling.

Curator Maria Kreyn, whose light-based artwork is constructed using painstaking etchings on plastic, feels there is great merit in laboring to create something so detailed. “In a world where everything is mass-produced and disposable, these works are a call to action to value the objects that really matter to us. This level of time investment forces the artist to be more present with the work and encourages viewers to be enriched by examining pieces more slowly and deeply.” The show aspires to rouse viewers into becoming aware of their own human time, to contemplate the things they simply cannot give up, to find their own compulsions and – under inspiration from these artists – to give in to them.

LIVING THINGS

curated by Heidi Elbers and Tun Myaing
at the Art Foundry, September 21 – October 12, 2012
read press release


                                                                                                    Living Things

“But after a time allowed for it to swim,

“Instead of proving human when it neared

“and someone else additional to him,

“as a great buck it powerfully appeared.”

-Robert Frost

 

 We are creatures built for encounters.  Some of our favorite past times revolve around meeting new people, talking to them, passing a judgment, and, if we are lucky, understanding them a little.  This is who we are – frequently judgmental, occasionally insightful, hopelessly social, and hopefully, empathetic.  These are traits we living beings picked up from our encounters with fellow living beings.

Once in a while, however, this peculiar chance presents itself to us: to encounter not a person, but an object.  Not to simply see and acknowledge it, but to meet it; not to simply consider it, but to empathize with it; not to see it through our eyes, but to see ourselves through its eyes.  This moment is almost always fleeting, indecipherable, and indescribable; we feel it for a moment – and often walk away with a cautious shrug, unable to tell anyone precisely what we felt.  What we felt, however, was a kind of encounter – an encounter with a nonliving being, a greeting from the universe, a momentary conversation with Everything Else.  The Living Things Exhibit has one aim – to make the conversation longer.

Our penchant for using objects as metaphors is well documented.  Dutch still life is replete with depictions of spoiled fruit, bones, half-empty glasses, and human skulls – objects that represent our fears, our mortality, and us.  The work of a few newer artists (such as Antonio Lopez Garcia) expands on that idea.  An object is no longer a symbol.  The sense of time and decay tells us the story of the object; our story, merely one of many, takes a back seat to the stories of Everything Else.  Changed and molded by time, the object lives a non-life, emphatically still and indifferently different.

We too are objects.  The human body – our first birthday gift, a collection of mechanical and electric machinery, is among the most familiar and least understood objects.  Intricate and capricious, it has its own rules that we are not privy to.  It grows and withers, it becomes hungry, it lusts after other bodies, it gives away our deepest secrets.  Sometimes it is treated as a tool, traded for pleasure and, in its workings, it remains an object – an object that frustrates, fascinates, and inspires.  Only in death does the body reveal what it truly is – a thing, an object, a story of Everything Else.  The living world of animals and botany all live to tell this tale, a union of universal conversation.  This connection of the living world and the world of things has inspired many artists throughout centuries – to this day.

The artists exhibited in Living Things continue and expand on this tradition, bringing their unique contemporary vision of the bizarre and eloquent world of the insentient.  Acknowledging and celebrating the materiality of their work the artists of Living Things talk to the viewer with the voice of Everything Else.

 

THE DRAWING ROOM

curated by Dina Brodsky, Karl Koett and Tun Myaing
at Milavec Hakimi Gallery, May 8th – 24th 2012
read curatorial statement
review by Lidia Arshavsky in Arte Fuse: “The Drawing Room at Milavec Hakimi Gallery”
article by Patrick McGinnis for the Huffington Post: “The Drawing Room: Artists and Their Sketchbooks Occupy an NYC Gallery”
video by Guno Park: “The Drawing Room”

 



Perhaps more so than any other form of art, drawing reveals the pure intent of the artist. Drawing does not allow for multiple revisions; it is for the artist what improvisation is for the actor. The raw talent, the creative spirit of the artist is tangible in the drawing. The Drawing Room allows you a rare glimpse into the private universe of the artist, with all the intricacies of structure and elegance of creative motion revealed. Using a diversity of approaches, the artists reveal themselves as they are: inventive, sublime, thoughtful, playful, absurd – stripped of artifice and pretense.

Ranging from the inarticulate to the sharply defined in their unbroken linearity, these masterful renderings will draw you in, engage you, entrance you with the unique promise of meeting some of the most interesting and talented artists of today mind to mind. It is our sincere hope that the viewer will leave aesthetically engaged, but also with a sense of connection; that particular solace offered only by the well-crafted thoughts of an articulate mind.

LINE

curated by Dina Brodsky, Karl Koett and Dina Brodsky
at the Cell Theatre Gallery, April 5 – April 25, 2012
read curatorial statement
review by Oscar A. Laluyan for Arte Fuse: “Just Draw the Line”



Perhaps more so than any other form of art, drawing reveals the pure intent of the artist. Drawing does not allow for multiple revisions; it is for the artist what improvisation is for the actor. The raw talent, the creative spirit of the artist is tangible in the drawing. Thus LINE allows you a rare glimpse into the private universe of the artist, with all the intricacies of structure and elegance of creative motion revealed. Using a diversity of approaches, the artists reveal themselves as they are: inventive, sublime, thoughtful, playful, absurd – stripped of artifice and pretense.

Ranging from the inarticulate to the sharply defined in their unbroken linearity, these masterful renderings will draw you in, engage you, entrance you with the unique promise of meeting some of the most interesting and talented artists of today mind to mind. It is our sincere hope that the viewer will leave aesthetically engaged, but also with a sense of connection; that particular solace offered only by the well-crafted thoughts of an articulate mind.

SALVAGED

curated by Dina Brodsky and Tun Myaing
at Island Weiss Gallery, November 8 – December 21, 2011

read curatorial statement
review by Frederick Lembeck for the Westbeth News: “Salvaged”


A spark of fire emerges from the friction of two sticks: a flash of life, quickly subsumed by immutable physical law: heat, death, cold. Humans and all of their creations, like the spark, come into existence only to fade, guided to silence by the forces of nature. Spirit is the hope that a part of every human triumphs over death, some part that can’t be unraveled, broken down, or dragged into the void. It is our most potent means to avoid dissolution by the external and internal forces of the world.

In the end, we dissolve into the immaterial, however spirit calls us back to life. The act of remembering is unique to the humankind; it empowers a temporary deity within us. Remembering renders the power to salvage, to save from the wreckage.

Before we die, we create a pact with the living, to salvage us from oblivion by recalling us from the immaterial void. This contract exists between humanity and all things we love.

An artist is specifically trained in the art of salvage, to stave off the forces of entropy, to rescue from loss that which nature mandates to disappear – An artist salvages memories, sparks, time.

A salvage, once performed, is a promise kept. In bearing witness to it, we a reminded and assured that our own memories will be recalled, that our spirits will be kept safe. A salvage ensures that after our passing, our names will continue to be spoken and our essence live on.