Taking into account the recent craze for all things countryside, curator/artist Peter Fulop has amassed an incredible showing of contemporary art in the group show, “Re-Imaging Rural,” currently on view on the Brooklyn waterfront at 1 Brooklyn Bridge Park (360 Furman Street) through July 31st. Exhibition hours are 1-6 PM, Tuesday through Sunday.
This dazzling group show presents works by a range of alumni who have participated in the ChaNorth artist-in-residence program located in Pine Plains, NY (Fulop resides near the residency.) The exhibition’s list of participating artists is impressive in its own right, with works from Daniela Puliti, Eileen O’Kane Kornreich, Julia Blume, Jennifer McCandless, John O’Donnell, Hayley Ferber, Roland de Fries, Khae Haskell, Bradley Wood, Heather Renée Russ, Buket Savci, Caitlin McCormack, Rina Lam Goldfield, Lori Larusso, Catherine Meringolo, Rob Trumbour, Kathie Halfin, Hudson Howard Cooke, Amalya Megerman, Jayne Struble, Rochelle Voyles, Steven Rudin, Lauren Packard, Jasper Johns, Katherine Earle, Locus Xiaotong Chen, Hannah Tardie, Rebecca Tennenbaum, Emily Kofsky, and Jin Yong Choi included in this feast for the senses.
Many works, including those by artists Kathie Halfin and Daniela Puliti, embrace everyday materials such as cotton or wool blends in creating sculptural compositions on view in the exhibition. Sculptural works and installation are present in the exhibition alongside paintings by artists like Rina Lam Goldfield and Eileen O’Kane Kornreich and works on paper by Hayley Ferber. Hayley Ferber’s prints in particular juxtapose landscape orientation with verticality, delicately inviting the viewer into the intimate scale of the composition.
Sumptuous surface texture, enticing figurative paintings and mixed media works all combine to titillate guests to the exhibition. Located right on the East River and easily accessible by ferry to Brooklyn Bridge Park, “Re-Imaging Rural” holds space for everyone to encounter concepts around rural both real and imagined in a creative, carefully curated manner.
Curator Peter Fulop is a multidisciplinary artist born in Hungary, based in Pine Plains, NY. Peter studied ceramics in Hódmezovásárhely, Hungary and undertook further studies at studios in the UK, Japan, Korea and China. He moved his studio to the Northwest of Ireland in 2001. Peter was invited to work in the ceramic studio of Daeseungsa Monastery, Korea (2011) and to Japan to take up an apprenticeship with Professor Koie Ryoji (2012). His works are included in the public collections of the National Museum of Ireland, the Ulster Museum, Belfast, The Ganjin Celadon Museum and Mungyeong Ceramic Museum in Korea, Fule International Ceramic Art Museum, China, The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park and INAX Corporation in Japan. He has been an artist in residence at Sculpture Space New York, NY.
ChaNorth is the international artist residency program of Chashama, a non-profit organization that partners with property owners to transform unused real estate for artists. www.chashama.org
We recently met artist Noga Cohen, whose impact is clearly felt far beyond her participation in the group exhibit, “Sign of Frankenstein” at Amos Eno Gallery where we crossed paths. It became apparent through our dialogue that her role in the New York arts community is something to be explored further. Cohen’s ties to many incredible organizations and galleries throughout New York City intrigued us, and we sat down together to learn more about her accomplishments, interests, collaborators and future projects.
Lead image: Photo credit, Farah Mohammad.
ANTE Mag. You moved directly to New York City to attend Columbia upon acceptance to their MFA program in 2019. What has being resilient as an artist living in NYC during Covid looked like for you?
Noga Cohen. I moved to New York City in 2019, just a few months before Covid. To cope with the uncertainty and sense of urgency I felt at the time, I tried to use my skills and knowledge to help others and create meaningful interactions through art and art education. I was invited by a fellow artist and curator, Farah Mohammad, to teach and take part in designing the curriculum of an independent online art program called “The Drawing Exchange”. The program took place during the summer of 2020, and was supported by Alpha Art Alliance. It offered arts programming children living in East Brooklyn, who didn’t have access to formal art education during lockdown. I taught a series of online collage classes and formed relationships with other art educators and children who were dealing with different challenges.
At the time, while not having access to my studio, I had to restructure my art practice and find new ways to express myself. I work mainly in sculpture, installation, and photography, and had to shift the ways I make work. Through the relationships with my students, I discovered new ways to be creative and work within the limitations of our new post-Covid reality. In 2020, writing has been a cathartic ritual that helped me gain awareness of my dynamic art practice and a way to connect to other artists and writers in a time of isolation. I was invited to contribute work to an online show and art publication hosted by the Philadelphia-based organization Tiger Strikes Asteroid. The project, called “Lines Inside”, was a group exhibition of writings by New York-based artists. The editors were Lizzy De Vita and Roni Aviv. Most of the work was created and compiled into a publication during Covid, and this collection of work reflects the sudden changes that we were experiencing at the time – mirroring my own adjustments during the period.
ANTE.This past year you have stayed involved in organizing panels, exhibitions and volunteering in Arts Education. Can you share some of these accomplishments with us?
NC. Absolutely. Art education is a big part of my practice, and being involved in this field has been deeply rewarding and fulfilling for me. I was honored to be invited to Hofstra University as a visiting artist this year and spend a day leading a panel discussion, a lecture, and a Q&A about my practice, giving thorough end-of-the-year show reviews, and having studio visits with students. The discussion panel was led collaboratively with the head of the visual arts department, Jim Lee. We discussed how questions of identity and self-discovery come up in an art education setting and in the process of preparing for art school’s final exhibition. ays been interesting to me as an arts education professional.
Earlier this year, while participating in a show at Amos Eno Gallery in Brooklyn, I initiated and organized a closing reception that included a discussion panel. The panel was open to the public and led by fellow artist Adi Rejto and me, and involved other artists who participated in the show. It was interesting to discuss ideas of accumulations of time and moments in painting and sculpture presented in the show, and have an open Q&A with the gallery visitors.
Also, I am excited to join as a board member of UCAE (The University Council for Art Education) in the upcoming year. I’m thrilled to be a part of an amazing educational organization that brings together art educators, artists, and social practitioners through open-table discussions, lectures, and panels.
ANTE.Your artistic practice has also benefited from the NYFA Immigrant Artists mentorship program. Was this a competitive process for inclusion, and what are some benefits you received from this opportunity?
NC. I discovered an incredible and diverse community at the NYFA Immigrant Artist mentorship program. The program brings together ambitious artists, creatives, and filmmakers in different stages of their careers, who share the experience of immigration. The artists I’ve met through this program come from different places and backgrounds and were able to offer different perspectives on the question of what it means to be an international artist in New York. Through access to other international artists in New York who are dealing with unique challenges, we’ve built a strong and supportive community. During the 6-month long program, I got to participate in panels, group activities, lectures, and workshops, and connect with artists from all over the world. It was reassuring to realize that we have a lot in common and can use our knowledge and experience to contribute and help others.
At the culmination of our experience, we exhibited our work together at the New York Live Arts gallery and got to work with three amazing curators who made thoughtfully informed curatorial decisions to create the final exhibition. I am currently working with my NYFA international artists cohort on independent curatorial projects, in collaboration with alumni and mentors of the program.
ANTE.How do you maintain your dedication to the greater New York City artist community today?
NC. I stay connected to a community of artists I collaborate with regularly, who are located both in New York City and internationally. For example, in 2021 I was picked to exhibit my work in an international online show curated by Iksong Jin, a curator and artist based in South Korea. The show included artists from all over the world, and the group has been dedicated to exhibiting together in person. This summer, I’ll be exhibiting new work among my fellow international artists at RIVAA (Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association) Gallery. It has become a tradition that we get together and publish a catalog of our most recent works.
Last year, I was included in another exhibition featuring incredible international artists at Project Gallery V. The show was entitled “Time Won’t TellI” and it was curated by Farah Mohammad – again. The gallery is a Brooklyn-based online space run by two women artists/entrepreneurs. I feel grateful to collaborate with artist-run spaces, especially ones founded by young artists and curators. I find online spaces to be a great resource for reaching audiences all over the world and connecting with people.
ANTE.This past year along with teaching as an adjunct professor at Columbia University you have exhibited regularly. What are some of the shows your work has been presented in?
NC. Last year I participated in an independent curatorial project organized by a group of New York based artists that took place in a space granted to us generously by ChaShama. The show, curated by Junni Chen and Owen Duffy, completely transformed an empty space on the Lower East side into a lively art space for one month. I showed two sculptures I made using plastic and trash, in a unique process I used to activate gravity, and the passage of time, in addition to using high heat.
Also, I feel grateful for having been included in two wonderful group shows at Amos Eno Gallery, an artist-run space located in Brooklyn in the past year. The most recent one, “Sign Of Frankenstein” curated by Robert McCann, consisted of work by New York-based artists reflecting on ideas of layering, memory, and practices of deconstruction. I showed one sculpture and a large wall installation, made out of recycled and repurposed materials, that speak to ideas of fragmentation and disconnection in relation to space and the human body.
I look forward to participating in another show at The Border Project Space this upcoming year, where I will be showing new artwork.
In Both/And, Maureen O’Leary’s exhibition on view at Cristin Tierney Gallery through May 27, the artist presents a cinematic body of narrative imagery engaging with moments of stillness in nature and in her subjects’ everyday lives. Drawing on modern portraiture and fusing these impulses within the contemplation embedded within the everyday, O’Leary’s ability to evoke stillness in her subjects is indicative of both her competence as a painter and her discerning knowledge of art history. Focusing in this exhibition review on the figurative paintings on view, it is apparent that the artist presents everyday scenes subtly removed from the digital realm. This adds a timeless quality to the imagery in these compositions. One result of this careful presentation is that artist’s portraits and landscapes manage to slow the eye, effectively expressing the psychological charge infusing these painted scenes. The artist’s works freeze individual moments in time, distinctly separating each out from a successive series of events to instead simmer and soak in the silence of these specific snapshots.
In works such as Commuter Platform with Dogwood (My Mother) and High Rise Neighbor, the artist isolates individuals, presenting them within a seemingly static scene. These works maintain a dialogue with an existing impulse in art theory toward slowly digesting the image presented to the viewer, known as the Slow Art movement. In addition, O’Leary’s tendency to present the individual framed within a clearly defined landscape continues the visual lexicon ignited during Modern French painting of the Second Empire: the imagery which defines a potent individualism in painting, overthrowing the prevailing trend of genre painting prevalent at the time.
Arthur P. Shimumura, PhD documented the Slow Art Movement in an article for Psychology Today in 2014. The author outlines that “…the Slow Art movement is grounded on the premise that one should savor artworks in a conscious and deliberate manner rather than simply gulp each one down as “eye candy.” Phil Terry conceived the idea in 2014 when he spent hours at the Jewish Museum in New York focusing primarily on two abstract paintings—Hans Hoffman’s Fantasia and Jackson Pollock’s Convergence.” (1) Aligned with Shimamura’s assertions that one should savor artworks “in a conscious and deliberate manner,” O’Leary’s paintings employ two distinct formal qualities which support a conscious recognition of the imagery presented in her works. In the aforementioned works, the artist renders her subjects in outlines that are clearly defined and distinct from their surroundings. The figure is presented in a different color, contrasting their individual bodies from the nearby environment. The artist also takes the additional step of presenting individual figures who are wrapped in themselves rather than engaging in conversation or activity with any nearby figures. Whether walking alone, pensively, or smoking a cigarette, O’Leary paints her subjects with a deliberate focus on their introspection, encouraging a conscious means of engaging with the composition for her viewer.
Stephen Eisenmann in the historical survey text, Nineteenth Century Art: A Critical History, denotes that the origins of modern painting were formed during the salons held at the of the French Second Empire. The author notes the shift in consciousness espoused by painters at the time, revealing that “Individualism and commodified consciouness – masked and justified by a crude ideology of Naturalism….replaced history painting.” Among the French painters of the mid-1850s, individualism prevailed as a means of expressing unique identity, as Eisenmann specifies that among these French Second Empire artists, ”Individualism was dialectally refined to include both personal autonomy and the popular collectivity,” thus ushering in Modernism in France at close of the Second Empire. (2)
This since ingrained sense of individualism informed many of the earliest photographs and films emerging during the 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly in Western traditions. It is this persistent sense of framing an individual’s psychological experience of the world around them that infuses Maureen O’Leary’s works in Both/And with a potent sense of self-awareness. In Scholar on a Tour, a figure is wrapped in reading an article, seemingly oblivious, on a hero’s journey toward attaining a personal sense of truth and understanding of one aspect of their lived reality – while remaining distant from their physical surroundings. This rapturous, analog sense of self-involvement with reading material in a town square exudes a cinematic sense of discovery, a Cindy Sherman-esque vignette framed within de Chirico-style environs.
In Both/And, the artist brings a keen awareness of the subject to light via a careful attention to color and composition, allowing for a reframing of our experience as viewers capable of navigating this nuanced understanding of stillness in action in contemporary painting.
Both/And : a solo show of works by Maureen O’Leary, remains on view at Cristin Tierney Gallery, 219 Bowery Fl 2 in Manhattan through Friday May 27th.
ANTE mag open call winner Elizabeth Riley explores a multitude of forms through her expansive artistic practice, with interlapping processes informing her video and multimedia artworks. She explores the ‘mixed reality’ that we inhabit and the duality we experience as citizens of both a physical reality and our ever-evolving digital environments. We sat down with Elizabeth for insights into her current practice, what has informed her recent work and her plans and aspirations for the future.
ANTE. In works such as “Factory Fresh” from your Video Media Art series, you translate digital video stills into large scale, 3-D installations. How do you hope these abstractions translate for the viewer at this large scale and removed from these stills’ original context?
Elizabeth Riley. Earlier on in my use of digital media, I used video stills with a program in mind, using every video still – that is, literally thousands of inkjet-printed video stills from a short video – translating a moving image, immaterial video into a material expression. Gradually, I’ve used the video stills more freely, taking advantage of the power of computer processing to further manipulate the video stills, and to make diverse choices in regard to coloring and size. “Factory Fresh” had a unique origin, in that it was made for a show at Edison Price Lighting Gallery, where artists were invited to use metal remnants from the lighting fixture manufacturing process to make art. As video is light and motion, the use of the material video stills, printed on paper and fabric, in this setting, along with laser cut metal sheets with reflective surfaces, worked to integrate, and demonstrate different aspects of “light” and materiality. This was a fun piece to make. It had to be made quickly, as I came off another project, so I used the leftover inkjet-printed paper and fabric from a prior project. As an artist there was happiness in the patchwork effect of the combination, something a little out of my control, though the materials were earlier originated by me. Finding the structure to support the moment, the possibility of the exploration, the intentionality of the work, and the materials at hand, was the activity of making the piece.
ANTE. Can you tell us more about the genesis of the Video Media Art series and its evolution over time?
ER. Mind/body divide issues have been a significant area of exploration for artists over the generations. I see the immateriality of digital/virtual in relationship to material realities, somewhat mirroring a contemporary version of this, wherein digital/virtual is a stand-in for the “immaterial” reaches of the mind, in stasis, or in the direction of the future. As indicated above, I became involved with inkjet-printed digital media after taking up video as an extension of installation. After a few years of working with video, including long hours of editing on the computer, I began missing working with “real” materials, and this was the genesis of the wall works, installations and tabletop cityscapes made from video stills, which on occasion incorporated live video. I began to realize my choice of materials was reflective of, and addressed, our contemporary reality – that is, the “mixed reality,” of living between physical and digital/virtual contexts. While for me, making art is gravely serious and an act of devotion, the relationship between the immateriality of video, either as a projection or screen-based, and as a material embodiment, gave me much to play with, wherein play connotes a delight in the incongruous, and in ready paradox, and in new solutions. My first works were long wraps of consecutive video stills, inkjet-printed on paper, utilizing every video still from one of my short videos. As exhibition opportunities appeared I improvised on this initial format, making site-specific installations, using the videos stills in a variety of ways, sometimes variously configuring many extended printouts, 8 ft long and more, other times collaging works from a wealth of torn and shaped leftover materials. I’ve continued, also, to experiment with making discrete wall works. These at first were three dimensional, while during the pandemic, I began working in two dimensions, which I’ve found a surprising rich area to mine.
ANTE. You note one aim for these works – from your artist statement – is to move ‘toward forming an embodiment of the present and the future’?
ER. Early on in my art practice, I thought of art as a language, which being different from everyday language offered the chance to explore and speak from another space, less readily subject to cultural conditioning. While personally I feel I’m genetically wired to be optimistic about the future, culturally and experientially this embrace of the future also has to do with growing up in a time when societal constraints were placed on girls and women. This frustration made me look toward a future where this burden and limitation had been eased, and with time overthrown. In addition, I believe that our thoughts in most contexts contain an anticipation of the future, that that’s a component of the mental space of being a thinking human being. Along with our thoughts most of our actions have an anticipatory element that reaches into the future. Many people have had the experience when dwelling on a problem over time, one day an answer for the present and the future appears without explicitly putting 2 and 2 together in the moment. So to say that my aim for my art is to move ‘toward forming an embodiment of the present and the future,’ I mean this literally. I have spent a lifetime as a human, and as an artist, putting 2 and 2 together and my art is my personal answer.
ANTE. Can you tell us what you’re working on and what you have coming up in your practice?
ER. My dear partner of many years died in early January 2022, and I’m remembering and mourning him. I loved and respected his art, and it feels good to recollect that he was happy for me, and supportive, when I undertook a new project or completed a body of meaningful new work. A few days after his passing I was invited to be one of the participants in Norte Maar’s “CounterPointe: Women Choreographers and their Collaborations with Artists,” which was an uplifting experience. The physicality of dance seemingly comes from a completely different place than art, and in such an engaging way, yet there are many crossovers as to sources and one’s humanity. I contributed elements from an earlier participatory piece, “City Remix,” of 9 ft long inkjet prints of video stills on paper, fabric and clear film, hung over easily moveable racks on wheels. These, in combination with Eryn Renee Young’s terrific choreography and collaboration, became the dance, “Origin Forward.” The performance weekend in mid-March at the Mark O’Donnell Theater of eight collaborative pairings between choreographers and artists was a celebration, and during this time of personal grieving, I’m grateful for this reaffirmation of the power of art and community to stimulate and heal. Presently, I’m returning to my studio practice by locating where I left off at the end of 2021, in working on new small pieces for an upcoming spring benefit. I also have a three-dimensional wall work, “Nude Traversing the Future,” up in an April exhibition in a Harlem brownstone, curated by Art Lives Here.
We are proud to feature an interview with the thoughtful polymath artist Carter Hodgkin, who discussed her work with us in depth in order to outline the range of philosophies and aesthetic values impacting her practice. The artist walks us through specific artworks, detailing the global origins that have informed her perspective as a multi-disciplinary and digital creator.
ANTE. Thanks for chatting with us, Carter! So in works like “Irises on a Rock,” the viewer is presented with multiple elements moving spatially across the composition at a time – how do you hope this shift in composition impacts the viewer as the work progresses second by second?
Carter Hodgkin. The animation, “Irises on a Rock” was an opportunity to explore forms growing, dissipating and dissolving. It came about while taking walks in Upstate, NY examining the lines of bifurcating stems and blossoms on wildflowers and weeds. To create this animation, I generated atomic particle collisions using the Open Source program Processing. Playing around with the code becomes a drawing process where parameters are set to create a collision. Particles collide in an animated somewhat randomly fashion. I piece these animated collisions together to form a moving composition. In forming the composition, I was inspired by the use of space in Chinese Literati paintings.
To me, making the animation is like drawing in space and time, giving the viewer an experience of creation. My use of time slows down the act of viewing, allowing the viewer to notice small moments morph into something larger. I am excited when my animations are displayed in large-scale settings or on different LED configurations. The digital nature of my animation process scales well and the animations become large-scale paintings that move.
ANTE. “The Nine Bend Stream” is inspired by 16th century Korean landscape painting, yet the work appears primarily as abstraction. How is this work-in-five-parts in dialogue with this historic painting lineage from the perspective of digital art?
CH. I was inspired by the Korean painting “Nine-bend Stream at [Mount] Mui” By Lee Seonggil (1562–?) which portrays a famous landscape in China. I saw this painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was intrigued by the quirky mountain forms. I wanted to work with the abstraction in these forms and began creating compositions that expressed the energy and movement. From there I wove a visual narrative of falling particles conjuring fireworks, waterfalls, and volcanic mountains.
ANTE. In your artist statement, you outline that you are inspired by the interdiscipinary links connecting science, tech and art through the common language of abstraction. Can you provide specific examples of how multiple disciplines connect in your artwork(s)?
CH. I have been connecting these links for a long time in various ways. Two pieces that might serve as examples of these connections are Blue Remote and Remote 6; both paintings made in 2021. My exploration with atomic particle collisions is a scientific aspect while tech is in the tools I use to translate the collisions into a format I can work with and the art is in making a painting, mosaic or animation out of it all. For Blue Remote and Remote 6, I generated particle collisions in a landscape format. I played with the code so that particles hit the bottom of the canvas and moved back upwards towards the top of the canvas. When I got something I liked, I captured a collision and digitized it through the lens of mosaic. Conflating mosaic with the digital collapses high tech with the lowest tech imaging as well as evoking ancient and future.
Form is created by gluing hand-painted paper squares onto grounds of canvas printed with ‘digital noise patterns. Using acrylic and watercolor, I play with color and visual textures to create layers of depth and movement. The construction of form becomes labor-intensive, meditative and contemplative. What takes seconds to create in a collision, takes weeks to interpret into a painting.
ANTE. Can you share with us what you’re working on currently, and what you have upcoming in your practice?
CH. In response to new media ‘updates’, i.e. NFT and Instagram, I have been creating very short animations in those formats. I also want to create longer animations that can reside in stand-alone playback format, i.e. frames.
However, painting occupies my attention – as always – and I’ve been working on medium scale paintings in square and landscape format. Some of these pieces will be in a show at Saratoga Arts, NY in June. Two paintings from 2010 will be in a show called “Techpression- the digital & beyond” at the Southampton Art Center, NY in April.
Intriguing installations featured throughout EXHIBITIONIST: Earthly Delights, previously on view in March 2022 at the newly christened cultural and performative venue, House of X, in the PUBLIC hotel in lower Manhattan. This inaugural show was helmed by curator and exhibiting artist Kat Ryals who assembled innovative and cutting edge artists into this exhibition with the venue: an exciting show that revealed more secrets at every turn. Artists featured throughout the space include Ryals, Anna Cone, Anthony Padilla, Olivia Taylor, Rob Ebeltoft and Tom Prinsell.
Info to follow these artists as below:
Kat Ryals @kitsch_witch www.katryals.com (I have 2 rugs on display so you can add my name to artist list)
Visitors encountered artwork from the very entrance into House of X, where they were treated to a sense of fantasy and spectacle from the very first step inside the venue. Guests were greeted by Anna Cone’s luscious installations – vignettes borrowing from Baroque imagery, presenting decadent, detailed images of allegorical beauty and chaos. Cone’s 3-dimensional works infused a precious quality to contemporary image-making: an approach that informs the artist’s work in addition to her background in fashion photography. The artist subverted expectations, rebelling against art historical norms – and traditional expectations around female beauty. Cone’s stunning tableaux tend to embrace sexuality, power dynamics and overindulgence to emphasize how contemporary culture’s beauty standards shift constantly and elusively.
Venturing further into the space, elaborate textures and representational imagery pervaded the venue. The interior serves as a kind of art palace, with works spanning the walls across downstairs seating booths, a transitional space along the corner where the spiral staircase reaches to the upstairs level, elongated vitrines and an intimate lounge area. Art seemingly sprouts out of every corner and crevice for the ongoing EXHIBITIONIST series of art exhibits. In this exhibit, one particularly meaningful experience occurred when encountering Olivia Taylor and Kat Ryals’ provocative and tactile installations created from combinations of sensual, sensational imagery and materials (see top image, image credit: Brendan Burke.) Faces and hands protude outward from a caged corner in this permanent installation, approximating a cabinet of wonders, with precise attention paid to figuration and materiality. Upstairs, an art installation revealing body parts and saccharine sweets combined in a vitrine of assorted sculptures presenting sensual imagery with the texture of ready-to-eat cakes and treats, referencing the range of pleasures present in the sumptuous surroundings.
Artist Rob Ebeltoft’s compelling installation work remains permanently at the venue, presenting the installation ”Cherry Babe” as a sumptuous vision of a Disco forward, futuristic nightlife. Ebeltoft’s work provides a portal for the curious onlooker to experience an alternative vision of club culture.
As guests began to navigate through the inner realms of the House of X upstairs lounge, they encountered paintings by Anthony Padilla and Tom Prinsell. Padilla’s representational works presented introspective, nocturnal imagery approximating the otherworldly and the exotic. Moonlit jungles undulated in organic curves, with plant life seemingly bursting forth from the compositions. Sensual gradients charted the trajectory of light across flower petals, accentuating the curvature present in bodies both floral and fauna in nature. Tom Prinsell’s compositions presented fantastical imagery of natural bodies and the built environment. Prinsell’s paintings subverted expectations, elevating the ordinary into the surreal and almost supernatural. These works created mood and atmosphere with effective use of color and line, confronting the viewer and allowing the eye to roam across scenes both vaguely familiar yet unfathomable. The emphasis on surreality and subverting expectations united the range of mediums and materials present across the group exhibition.
EXHIBITIONIST: Earthly Delights enticed viewers who visited over the course of its duration. For the curious, the new iteration of EXHIBITIONIST: Esoterica – features art by Saki Sato, Rachel Stern, and Hannah Antalek. The show remains up over the month of May and the opening reception event for this show will occur tonight, Tuesday May 17th, 7-11pm. RSVP for tonight: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/exhibitionist-art-show-tickets-311891344407
Info to follow artists in the current EXHIBITIONIST: Esoterica exhibition as below:
Kat Ryals @kitsch_witch www.katryals.com (I have 2 rugs on display so you can add my name to artist list)
On view at York College Fine Arts Gallery through November 19, 2021
Content warning: This interview discusses femicide, violence against womxn/gender-based violence and rape.
The powerful exhibition “Flores de Femicidio: Femicide Florals” – a solo show and installation by artist Natali Bravo-Barbee curated by Dr. Margaret Rose Vendryes – will remain on view at York College Art Gallery through Nov 19. The exhibit honors the devastating toll that femicides have taken on Argentinian society, the loss of womxn murdered and the devastating impact that this violence has had. Bravo-Barbee’s powerful installation provides an avenue of contemplation to consider global movements against gender-based violence and the #niunamas movement.
According to statistics from the Observation Committee on Equality and Gender from the United Nations, in 2018 Argentina had the third-highest femicide rate reported in the Americas region. Bravo-Barbee took time to speak with ANTE editor-in-chief Audra Lambert on this exhibit, outlining how this project developed and the conversations that have emerged as a result of this meaningful installation.
(Interview edited for length and content; all images courtesy the artist and York College Fine Arts Gallery)
Audra Lambert, ANTE mag+platform: Thanks Natali for taking time to speak with us on your powerful project, Flores de Femicidio at York College Art Gallery. Can you tell us more on the genesis of this project?
Natali Bravo-Barbee: I have a friend who is a psychologist from Argentina, and I always read her posts as I appreciate her perspectives. She posted an article in early 2019 about the murder of a woman in Argentina, and the accompanying research showed how this one case fit into overall statistics (of women’s murders in Argentina.) I began to dig into this learning more about the scope of femicides in Argentina, and came to realize through my own research that Argentina doesn’t even have the highest rate (of femicides) in Latin America, so this is how I began my approach when I started this project in January of 2019.
ANTE: And how did this project emerge in partnership with York College Art Gallery?
NB-B: The show with York came about because I had been working on this ongoing project for so long. I continued working on it throughout the pandemic and it became closer to being done. I’d shown one month of flowers (January) in four locations, but no one had ever seen entire collection. Dr Vendryes reached out to me after I’d been posting about them and she mentioned that York has a summer residency program, working in the space and culminating in a show, but that due to Covid this residency was on hold and this show timeslot was open. She asked if I would be interested in showing the flowers there.
When I talked about the flowers before I finished them, I always said I want them to show together in Queens first – to bring all the pieces together in Queens, and from there I’m happy to show them anywhere, so this worked out great for Flores de Femicidio.
ANTE: And does the diversity of Queens’ residents contribute to this sentiment as well?
NB-B: Yes, and the number of Argentinian residents we have in Queens in particular, and the ability to open this conversation with students, some of whom deal with these topics at home such as domestic violence. Often universities and educational institutions don’t discuss these topics in depth. So showing at this university made this exhibition that much more special.
ANTE: So you mentioned to me previously that every flower takes up to 10 hours to complete – can you tell us more about this process?
NB-B: Every flower is different – there is no cookie cutter size. Every flower had to be cut out and hand drawn on the petals, and each had to have a number system since no two are identical. Each was numbered since they had to have individually labeled petals. I then had to sort these out, coat them and expose them, develop them, shape them, assemble them, create a tag for each woman who the flower is for – some of these flowers are embellished with crystals and glitter as well, requiring extra work.
Each flower has anywhere from 6-30 petals and there are varying designs of flowers, so in order to keep track of them, I had to come up with a numbering system to be able to sort them and build them. The building process for each individual flower required more cutting, shaping and gluing of the petals. Once the petals were done, the flower could be assembled. Each flower has a backing where the petals were glued onto, and they also have a wire hanger in the back so each flower could be hung. I built all the flowers first, and then assigned a name to each flower at the end. Each flower has a cyanotype name tag on it to represent each femicide victim.
There’s also a calendar aspect to this exhibition. The show also acts as a giant calendar, and there are cyanotype plaques in Spanish and English along the wall toward the floor outlining the months. These signs are not immediately visible, so as you walk around and begin encountering the flowers you start to realize gradual details: each individual month relates to these flowers, the women they are named for, and the use of Spanish reminds visitors that this is in relationship with Argentina, in dialogue with the scope of this project.
ANTE: I feel that sometimes specificity – in this case, showing the amount of femicides in Argentina over the course of a specific year (2019) – is able to reach a wider group of people because of the level of detail. It’s specific as opposed to being vague, demonstrating focus and intention.
NB-B: While documenting the show at York, I met a woman who worked with the Haitian embassy here in New York. She started a conversation with me about violence against women in Haiti. This is such an important topic, she noted, and she said she wanted to reflect on Haiti, the residents there and how women there experience violence often overlooked by the government.
ANTE: How did you research this project given the many barriers around finding out information on femicides in the Americas (lack of government diligence on this topic, etc.)?
NB-B: In the beginning of 2019 the number of femicides had started increasing so there was widespread coverage then, but throughout the year this coverage started to dwindle. There was less and less information over time. I saved everything I would read; I had a folder and would save everything and go back to the info I had found. There’s also feminist publication,Clarín, in Argentina that in the middle of 2020 published an enormous obituary of all femicide cases from 2019 to mid-2020 with victims’ names, ages and a brief sentence of how they were killed. The publication was digital and every rectangle published in this report represented a femicide victim. They stepped in to document when mass media had stopped widely reporting. In many cases, I was able to get to know each woman through their online presence, through their name and the online research I did to get to know them. Early on in my research, in newspapers, you would get first and last name, but over time it became first name and last initial, or even no name: just a documentation of the violence. there eventually would be no resources: no further info on who did this, etc. throughout this project over time there were many flowers that unfortunately have no names.
ANTE: Can you talk more about the process of cyantopying and the iconography of the flower as the focus of this project?
NB-B: Sure. One of the most popular things associated with cyanotyping is botanicals: flowers are popular, but I didn’t make them early on because it just didn’t call out to me as a subject matter unless it was in dialogue with something else. When I started with the concept of the project, I knew it had to do it with flowers because flowers for me have always symbolized death. From a young age, since my grandfather passed, I would always bring flowers to his grave with my family. It’s also a sign of honor: honoring someone’s life after their passing. I started off making regular flowers without cyanotype, in dialogue with a long tradition fo women making paper flowers. I wanted to play with the fine line between craft and Fine Art and explore how to bring craft into Fine Art, and throughout this process I realized no one has ever made a cyanotype flower sculpture. So then I thought: I’ll be the first one to make it.
I immediately went and made a prototype, not included in this show – it’s my artist proof. No name is attached to it. I realized: this is possible, I can make this. But I knew from the very beginning it was going to be labor intensive. So many other factors were things I didn’t know were coming in my life: new pregnancy, the pandemic. This project was hard but it is manageable, I thought and I’d spend my nights planning out petals, cutting them out. This process was so labor intensive, but I began to create a method around making these sculptures, and over time began to follow a rhythm and figure out how each flower would live as its own unique sculpture. Weekends, nights: all my free time was absorbed by this project, month after month.
So the process started with drawing out the petals from templates, and in these I numbered each petal with a code so I could keep track of the number of flowers I had drawn out. I had assistants help me cut out the petals. So I would drop off a batch that had been drawn out for cutting, and while those were getting cut out I would continue drawing out more until all were drawn and cut. Then I had to sort them out and put them in bags so I could separate them and prepare them for coating. My attic was set up as a darkroom where no sunlight came in and was safe for the petals to be coated in the cyanotype chemicals. Cyanotypes are exposed using UV light, so it was crucial that not outside light would enter the room. With a tarp on the floor, about 30 cyanotypes flowers could be coated at a time. Then once the emulsion was dry, I would bag them all up all again and bring them downstairs to prepare for exposures.
The exposure time depended on what I was using for a negative to make the photogram print. Dried flowers required a 15-30 minute exposure (depending on the flower) and lace required 30-40 minutes depending on the thickness of the flower or lace. The larger the flower size, the more exposures it took to expose all the petals for one flower. I should mention that I could expose between 10-15 petals on average, more if the flower was smaller, but some flowers were so large that it took 5 sessions to expose all the petals in just one flower. After exposing the petals had to be developed in a tray with water and then placed on blotter paper to dry, then sorted back into bags so they can be built. It truly was labor intensive, what you see when you enter Flores de Femicidio, and I’m happy to discuss the conceptual and formal aspects of this work with visitors.
ANTE: Throughout the course of this project, did you see anything in this process as transfomative given the research and time involved, and the stories of these women you were then transforming into beautiful objects?
NB-B: I would often just need to take time away after researching, I would have to take a break after reading about a murder of a child and that child’s mother – I would read this and just take a moment to go into the other room. I would think of my son asleep in the next room and just reflect on how unimaginable was this violence, this story. And then the story of the mother, of this woman and her life – I wanted to make these flowers to bring something beautiful to her name. I was resolved the last thing associated to this woman wouldn’t just be this violence, this tragedy. Here is going to be this beautiful object that I’ve made in this person’s honor. I think in terms of transformation also from 2D to 3D, thinking about this story that’s just a story that then becomes an object – something I just read that turns into something tangible: something that exists in real life – even beyond life.
I’ve heard people say, “Oh I thought this project was so beautiful until I realized what this show is about and now it’s just so sad.” But I think about beauty, and how women are expected to be beautiful. Our lives can be sad too; not everything about our lives is beautiful. There are more dimensions to who we are. There are people who don’t speak on domestic violence because it’s not pretty – they don’t know how people around them will react to this news.
ANTE: Also, horrifically, the only person who feels the effects of this violence are the women: the men aren’t shunned for this violence. Women hold the shame of these violent acts.
NB-B: As part of the show for the York College Art Gallery, I created a binder containing dried flower petals, negatives with name tag information, stories from these women – the murder information – translated from Spanish to English – and even have photos of the women included. With this binder you can go find the individual’s flower on the wall, read these notes and sketches and further engage with this project. I’ve also added a trigger warning to give people the choice to engage with these stories as that’s critical as well. It’s a heavy thing having to translate these stories, seeing these truths live in two languages, making these stories more tangible to a wider audience.
ANTE: When you’re talking about beauty I think of the beauty pageant system and of pageants as an institution in Louisiana where I’m from; is this something that is relevant to Argentinian society as well? That beauty is the expected dimension for women to inhabit socially?
NB-B: I definitely see this as being relevant to majority of women living in Argentina, who are meant to look pretty, who should have children but not look like they’ve had them- keep their beauty and make everything look easy. Then there are so many other underlying topics with colorism, socio-economic background, even religious faith. Something interesting to note about this topic is that the government uses the term femicide – the WHO has ‘violence against women’ with related numbers to the Argentinian count of ‘femicidios.’ Over time I noticed the numbers didn’t add up and it’s because in Argentina the governement didn’t count Trans women’s murders. Also if two women, such as a mother and daughter, were murdered in the same act, it was only counted as a single femicide.
ANTE: That certainly needs to change. Thinking about changes in society recently, I’m ruminating about the evolution of the #metoo movement. How do you see this topic being treated now, is there a resurgence of attention now? Was it just in that one moment from your research?
NB-B: That movement definitely impacted it – the hashtag in Spanish is #niunamenos meaning we don’t want one less woman. There was also #niunamas – I think in 2018/19 when you looked at the jump in femicide numbers that occurred, there were numbers that had risen and feminists in Argentina were fighting for femicides to be recognized and for the government to do something about it. The numbers continued to go up but in spite of that there was less media coverage over time. I don’t see that this is a topic that’s been fixed or that we can stop talking about it, it still continues. In conversation with femicides, honor killings come up often. In different parts of the world this phenomenon is called different things – but there’s no honor in killing a woman, this is not the right term. My days are filled of reading stories of femicides from all over the world, not just Argentina.
ANTE: I think of a recent encounter I had the memorial to the #niunamas monument in Mexico City, and cases abroad such as Noor Mukadam in Pakistan and Sarah Everard in the UK. There seems to be a hesitancy built in socially against upending the establishment. Are societies built on violence? I hope not, but we need to be willing to change, pursue and implement laws against femicides.
NB-B: Speaking to this, in Argentina there are laws against femicides but most of the time those who are responsible either aren’t caught or the police don’t pursue leads related to the femicides. If this continues then how are the aggressors being found? They’re not. They aren’t finding them and then nothing can be done. What’s the point to having a law then, if nothing is being done to enforce it? They’ll argue there’s not enough funding for these investigations. It’s ridiculous when you read the justifications for these investigations not happening. Looking to Gabby Petito’s case, it didn’t take too long to find her remains. Imagine if every femicide had that level of attention: everyone sharing leads, video captures, information and coming together to solve the case, imagine if that happened for every femicide. We’d see results. People would be more afraid. The perpetrator would start to think whoa, people are paying attention, I might get caught and maybe just wouldn’t do it.
ANTE: Yes, it’s very clear that not every case is treated the same. Trans women, Indigenous women – not every case of femicide is treated with the same amount of scrutiny. You can feel that there should be more to prevent violence against all of these women, there’s so much more than can be done. I think of this poem from the Second wave Feminist publication Heresies’ Issue #6: On Women and Violence by Elaine McCarthy that reflects on a woman reporting her rape, and the police essentially make fun of her, telling her that they need all of the details and insinuating that the case won’t be solved.
NB-B: Dr. Diana Russell was active in the 1970s as well – she passed on in 2020, but she popularized the term femicide although it has existed since the 1800s. If we labeled every single femicide that occured with that term then we’d notice it happening all around us all the time. They happen so often, they often go unpunished, and people don’t want to see it. It’s a truth that people don’t want to admit, as a society, we’ve decided no – it’s too ugly.
Interview with Show + Telephone’s Madeline Walker, Edited by Audra Lambert
Madeline Walker. Can you share with us – what about the theme of the open call caught your attention in relation to your practice as an artist?
Bianca Abdi-Boragi. Since I’ve been producing ephemeral works with earth, the title (“Earthly Delights”) caught my attention. My practice has been influenced by Land Art and Arte Povera, both. I’ve been making pieces with high grass, petals, feathers, lost bread in works like Traveling Plant, Epiphany, Drift, The Heel of the Loaf to formally engage with ideas of trajectory, subsistence and fulfillment. My art is also inspired a lot from my family’s history of migration from Algeria to France to flee the war and personal experiences, conveyed in a form that addresses a collective experience, addressing timeless questions such as war, displacement, freedom, gender roles. Being uprooted from a country or a culture is a major theme in my work. I want to grasp life with the beauty, fragility and nostalgia of ephemera.
MW. Conflict and disparity between classes is something you mention in your statement about The Heel of the Loaf which feels especially poignant during the pandemic. When you mentioned fragile structures I can’t help but think about your experience working with bread and bread crumbs, walking in the space and generally the sensory experience. But also the proportions of the center point to the rest. Can you talk more about what it represents to you?
BAB. For my solo show last Fall, The Heel of the Loaf, I collected discarded bread from shops and bakeries here in Bushwick and Ridgewood. I collect materials outside the studio and then re-imagine and revisit places and residual materials from my surroundings, responding to the moment I find myself in–personal, local, or national. In this piece, the six sided dice had only one “6” side, face down, and five sides of “1”; this large scale sculptural installation was a meditation on fragile structures, sacred subsistence, and capitalism, where the odds of winning are against a majority of people.
Most of my works reflect on class, labor, subsistence, and the consequences of post colonial economic structures. My pieces obey the logic dictated by their concept, material, and process. In the making of a piece, I use all the forms that the material evolves. By the end, there is no waste, because the protocol is endless. I want to turn chaos into a glimpse of the infinite.
The Heel of the Loaf was all about how you felt walking into it, sticking your head inside it and being surprised by it. I’d hoped to make the viewer question their own body and presence in front of the work. It was a multi-sensory experience, a manifestation that connected directly to the viewer’s senses. The audience performed simply by walking into the gallery stepping on old loaves covering the floor into crumbs so thin it looked like sand. Through sculptural installation I hope to appeal to the viewer’s senses to trigger a thoughtful and meditative dialogue.
MW. Can you tell us more about the genesis of The Heel of the Loaf?
BAB. For this piece, I was focused on the revelation of the fragile economic structures in the US which were crumbling at the start of the pandemic. I wanted visitors to be taken off guard: to be directly impacted by the piece. I want my work to be physical at some level, or a disruption of reality – to disrupt some type of normalcy, conventions, boundaries or challenge the rules, questioning structures or addressing existential questions, to be thought-provoking, a little bit strange, just on the other side.
MW. What do you have ongoing and/or upcoming that you can share with us?
BAB. I’m excited to show a new painting in August 2021 for the group exhibition Staying Inn at Heaven Gallery in Chicago. Currently I’m in the midst of making two chairs to complete my new sculpture Hybrid Buffet, which was showcased last June at the Flux Factory for Din Din, an art food outdoor series of events. Hybrid Buffet is a table mosaic made of discarded bread fully coated with matte varnish inspired from the front of Ketchaoua mosque in Algiers, which was destroyed turned into a church under the French then turned into a mosque, addressing labor but also the hybridization of culture, architectonic narratives, mechanism of assimilation, colonization, war but most importantly pacifism, and the act of breaking bread together.
I’m also preparing an experimental film for an upcoming art fair, and working on the pre-production of my second solo show which will be based in sculpture and video art. I am also working on the production of a new piece involving two fabric sculptures and a documentary video about the French flea market. I have a long list of artworks I need to produce, which will keep me busy for many years if not a lifetime. I’m overwhelmed but it’s only good stress so I’m happy!
Finally, I’m also an independent art writer/curator and founder of Gallery Perchée, an online art gallery specializing in leading emerging artists. I have a few upcoming curatorial projects for 2021-2022 in NY and Chicago that I’m very excited about with wonderful artists. Architecture of Elsewhere now on view virtually at Gallery Perchée during the Summer of 2021. My other upcoming show Vector will open in Sept 2022 at Heaven Gallery Chicago, amidst other NY projects cooking for 2021 and 2022.
Earthly Delights winning artist Chantel Ness in conversation with Show & Telephone’s Madeline Walker & Audra Lambert
Thanks Chantel for chatting with us! What about the theme of the open call “Earthly Delights” caught your attention in relation to your artistic practice?
While contemplating the theme of “Earthly Delights”, I was drawn to the notions of clearing and culling to make room for growth and new creation. My artistic practice materialized as a direct result of pandemic isolation. I had been caught in a cycle of overexertion and perpetual burn-out: chasing career achievements for fulfillment. Only once I removed the superficial distractions of my work life was I able to peer inward to discover a well-spring of latent creativity and find my place as an artist. This has been a season to release those patterns and behaviors that once felt so important, but now appear redundant, trivial or even inflammatory.
One of my larger works – “Spring Training: The World Without Us” – was inspired by reading Alan Wesiman’s article “Earth Without People” and his follow-up non-fiction book. His thought-experiment on depopulation prompted me to contemplate the possibility we may never return to the outside world as it was pre-pandemic. This piece imagines an Earth devoid of any future human interference or destruction. Left only with remnants of our infrastructure, the flora and fauna are given space to thrive and evolve into newer, more resilient forms. What could be possible if we surrendered control and let life happen organically?
In “Conservation of Greatness”, I celebrate “Earthly Delights” through the simple freedom of play outdoors. The purest pleasure can be found in fresh cut grass, a warm breeze and connection to the body in coordinated motion. The fusion of indoor/outdoor spaces suggests a disintegration of confinement. The wistful longing for a return to open-air interactions is a base human compulsion: a prescription for fear and isolation.
Can you give us insight into how your upbringing and experience living in rural areas in Canada influenced your work, for example with Controlled Burn?
I hail from a remote town in Northern Saskatchewan called Meadow Lake. It is known for being a vast and empty space populated only by those tough enough to stand the unforgiving winters by playing hockey. In my upbringing, there was such an emphasis on athletics at the detriment of artistic or cultural pursuits. For a time I grappled with self-pity at my interests being swept aside before ultimately embracing my unique positioning. I had been a spectator for long enough to know the world of sports intimately, but maintain the outsider’s vantage point necessary to expand the discourse of athletics through contemporary art. As a way of entering into dialogue with those around me, I use sport as an accessible medium to approach deeper themes of importance to me. I revel at the chance to take subject matter traditionally perceived as “low-brow” and elevate it to a topic worthy of artistic contemplation.
My piece “Controlled Burn” was motivated by the boreal backdrop of my “wildhood”. Taking the life cycle of the tree as a metaphor for ideation: from germination to maturation, with stages of revision and deconstruction before emerging as a finished article. In wildland management, a controlled burn is essential to maintaining the health of a forest or grassland ecosystem. Whether with the intention to re-wild an area that was once urbanized or as a preventative measure, a prescribed burn can mitigate future hazards. While seemingly a violent and destructive act, the burn reveals the soil’s mineral layer and stimulates seed germination. To me, this serves as a poignant symbol as we set about emerging from our pandemic state. Perhaps without the proverbial heat, we might not have undergone this integral process of examination. The Timbersport depicted in this piece is called a “Spring Chop” – apt for my ruminations on the theme.
You have mentioned forest fires and your relationship to individuals working in that industry, can you elaborate on how this impacts your work?
In my community, which is predominantly First Nations, there is a tragic lack of economic growth and development. A trend emerged where persons in dire circumstances were inclined to light forest fires simply to be hired on a team paid to extinguish the fires. In the most extreme cases, these infernos would become uncontrolled causing unintended destruction of homes and infrastructure. My father, a Conservation Officer, became an Arson Fire Investigator tasked with discovering the sources of ignition. His involvement with these blazes educated me not only on fire prevention and management but of systemic inequality for Indigenous Peoples. Recently in Kamloops British Columbia, the bodies of 215 First Nations children were found buried on the site of a Catholic Residential School. Weighing heavy on my heart, the stone border painted on “Controlled Burn” contains 215 markers representing each of those victims. Canada has been broken for a very long time and only now are steps being taken toward reconciliation.
I find some topics are too painful to approach directly. I prefer instead to deploy unusual and humorous contexts to make work that toes the line between lighthearted and sincere. Disguised in a visually optimistic language, my work draws on the various tensions in my sphere of consciousness. Finding a way to constructively parse thoughts of racial inequality, gender disparity, extremism, climate crisis and mental health has been vital to my practice.
What do you have ongoing and/or upcoming that you can share with us?
Prior to taking up painting, I made a career in Interior Design. I think you can see traces of my former métier bleeding into my compositions. A friend of mine has taken over an iconic Sports Bar in Montreal, I have been joyfully commissioned to provide artwork and imprint my design sensibilities. Sneak preview: hand-painted wallpaper depicting former Montreal Expos baseball players in PlayGirl poses. I have been delighted how my practice has built a bridge to other humans: both artists and sports fans in equal measure. To have my voice as a female artist represented in a traditionally male-dominated space is supremely satisfying.
Once COVID restrictions ease, I dream of staging my first solo exhibition “Sports: Illustrated”. Being confined to my loft for the last 16 months has yielded a robust body of work and a yearning to share my work with others in a physical space. Until then, I continue with my self-taught practice, untangling ideas on canvas including some larger-scale pieces currently in progress.
The artist can be found at her website – Chantel Ness, www.minorleagues.xyz and on Instagram: @minor_leagues. -Ed.s
A feeling of lightness and buoyancy surrounds viewers upon entering “Traces,” a mixed-media installation by multidisciplinary artist Tulu Bayar on view through June 13th at Amos Eno Gallery. Over one hundred circular works composed of photographic film rolls, ink, and resin float weightlessly on the walls. These are presented in the space at varying heights as if rising and cresting, like a wave, and floating around the viewer. Dark rolls of film spiral, unravel, and protrude from the works with a deliberate sense of gesture and line, while vibrant colors swirl within the transparent resin. Citing influences such as calligraphy, Islamic manuscript painting, and ebru – the mesmerizing practice of Turkish marbling art – Tulu Bayar crafts a distinctive visual language that viewers can interpret and find meaning within.
Anchoring the space are four works which lie flat on plinths, offering the viewer the opportunity to peer down into their depths to explore Bayar’s works in more detail. Here, one can appreciate the materiality present and inherent to each unique work. Layered film rolls and multicolored inks sit on top of each other with a meditative stillness, as if frozen in time. “The gestural record on the surface stages a moment of existence that is no other moment,” remarks Bayar. “By containing that peculiar moment, I feel like I am able to memorialize the process.”
With “Traces,” Bayar deftly explores the metaphysical, the idea of oneness and the interconnected nature of beings and forms, and how individual difference resides within communal existence. This promotes an attitude of active engagement from the visitor.This lively, interactive process of “reading” reflects Bayar’s interest in the spirituality of mysticism and the teachings of Rumi. “The appearance of things changes according to emotions, and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves,” Bayar reflects, quoting Rumi directly. As we look into these works, we are looking into ourselves as well. As Bayar describes, this series embodies a “form of thinking and discovering a journey on a contained surface.” To embark on this journey with her, all viewers need is their imagination and a willingness to look.