Amy Arbus and Martha Posner/ Lauren Ewing/ Jefferson Hayman/
Nona Hershey/ Joel Janowitz/ Kahn & Selesnick
RECEPTION: Friday June 28, 2019 6 – 9 PM
ARTWORKS IN THE EXHIBITION
AMY ARBUS and MARTHA POSNER present A #METOO PROJECT. This project is a collaboration between Amy Arbus and Martha Posner, two women working with depth and courage at the prime of their artistic lives. A #METOO PROJECT is a series of black and white photographs, portraits of women presented wearing garments like jackets, bed coats and undergarments upon which ‘#metoo’ has been written thousands of times. The female subjects in the photos volunteered to share their stories wearing these garments. The result is an urgent activist action that goes further by making a place for visibility and articulation. The installation deals directly with the subjects’ point and moment of undeniable and wrenching pain, trauma and grief in such a way that it is held and offered as an intimate and venerable place of contact where change is possible. We touch and are touched by these women and their stories in ways that resist encapsulation, conceptualization and misinterpretation. This truth hurts, but the space of touch and the opening to love that the exhibition offers it is difficult, essential and deeply human.
Since the early 1990s, much of Martha Posner’s paintings and sculpture has been about the women’s issues of inequality, sublimation, and abuse. She made a piece made out of honeysuckle vines of a woman having been raped called, Leda, after the myth. Then came her Garment series inspired by dark fairytales of victimized little girls. In 1998, she began her Frozen Charlotte series, of naked porcelain dolls bruised and bleeding like prepubescent girls. Many of Martha’s pieces contain elements from the animals and garden on her farm. Her work is fearless, raw, sexual, powerful and straight from the heart. When the #MeToo movement broke, Martha realized that her story was almost every woman’s story. She was possessed with the need to create something that acknowledged the wounds of the past. Martha found vintage slips and bed coats to honor the women who had worn them before. Upon these garments she meticulously hand wrote the words “metoo” countless times all over them.
Amy Arbus’ disarming, kind, gentle nature has earned her a reputation for being the photographer for delicate situations. People tend to trust her because she has a genuine curiosity in human nature and a lack of guile. Amy is known for her style feature, On The Street, which ran in The Village Voice from 1980-1990. She has five books, including No Place Like Home, about people whose interior design echoes their personalities. In The Fourth Wall she explored fictional and true identities by picturing on and off-Broadway actors in costume, in character but out of the context of the play. Amy’s work is deceptively simple but is also straight forward, revealing, passionate, and intensely personal. For Amy it wasn’t until 2015 that her photographs began focusing on women. She made portraits of timeless beauties that showed their strength, courage, bravery, self-confidence, vulnerability and tenacity. Amy felt there was a political message that was missing from Goddesses and ultimately the project never came to fruition.
It was the day after Thanksgiving 2018 at Martha’s studio, when Amy first saw Martha’s slips and was stunned by the fact that her Goddesses were also wearing antique slips. For Amy, “metoo” was the missing piece. They decided to collaborate. Amy’s seventeen photographs were made on January 20th, 2019. Posner and Arbus were touched by the willingness of the women to get half naked and revisit a dark place. The complex feelings in the room were palpable. Some women felt sad, depressed and inadequate. Others felt completely comfortable in their own skin. Amy’s photographs are intended to show the women coming out of the shadows and into their own.
LAUREN EWING presents DEEP FOREST WITH FIREFLY CHANDELIERS (AFTER JOAN MITCHELL) a suite of three 60 x 60” photographic monotypes made with paint, coal dust and duotone on panel.
There are 3 forests in each Deep Forest… a duotone image of a forest at dusk, silhouettes from Joan Mitchell’s 1992 drawing “Trees 111” and coal dust from ancient forests buried deep in the earth. When we burn coal to illuminate our lives and extend our powers we are burning three hundred million year old trees. As you walk by each Deep Forest…, firefly chandeliers appear and disappear drawing the eye beyond the silhouettes and into the forest. Fireflies are the most efficient producers of light in the world and they signal to one another for love and friendship in the dark. The idea of the minor lights of desiring beings coming together to make something of beauty, larger than themselves, is the power of poetic impossibility. Their minuscule beauty serves as a poetic counterforce to the artificial brilliance of empire that fills our screens day and night.
LAUREN EWING is a sculptor and installation artist who also creates drawings, prints and photographs. Her art addresses the vast construct of material culture in relation to memory, desire and language. Many of her sculptures and installations are polyvocal simultaneously using image, object, space and unique electronic texts that are thematically provocative and richly poetic. She has exhibited nationally and internationally in museum and galleries including Diane Brown Gallery, NYC; Castelli Graphics, NYC; Sonnabend Gallery, NYC; John Weber Gallery, NYC; the Hirshhorn Museum; The New Museum of Contemporary Art; the Decordova Museum; Storm King Art Center; the Kunstverein Ludwigsburg, Germany; Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik, Denmark; Interim Art, London; the Sydney Biennale, Australia and many others. Her work is in many private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum, NYC; the Museum of Modern Art, NYC; Chase Manhattan Bank Collection; the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art; the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art; the Walt Disney Collection. Her public sculptures are located in many American cities including Seattle, Sacramento, Atlantic City, Denver and Philadelphia. Ewing currently has studios in New York City, Indiana and Provincetown.
NONA HERSHEY presents new works on paper. For this exhibition Hershey continues her years-long relationship with clouds as a subject, also continuing to dissemble and reorganize ways that we expect to approach, digest and remember images. By employing the long-standing premise that we approach works of art with many possibilities and then edit and filter until we decipher one primary, knowable (and explainable) aura-based experience she offers a familiar and grounded starting point for viewers to encounter her work. But then the conversation expands. Hershey also knows that looking and understanding just one way are constructs, useful for the sake of efficiency, politics and in service of the absolute. Art, objects and human lives have many voices, endless ways to be seen and could even be said to have been made by infinite hands with each artist working as an avatar for her time, place and generation. Certainly, there are many eyes, seen and unseen on virtually all components of material culture today.
Approaching each work in this show we are guided through a threshold from something expected to something new. Hershey accomplishes this by presenting a central visual destination that is substanceless and continually renewable (clouds) that open as we move closer, shift as we attempt to define and like a tunneling vortex, allow for a loss of equilibrium that opens the viewing space. At this point Hershey operates like a sculptor by understanding that one deft swipe at something material or familiar can change the viewer’s world, so she does. The pictures are split into diptychs, interrupted with acrylic shapes or strips, or show sudden changes in intensity within the image, similarly to a printmaker’s removal of inks in viscosity printing. The artworks open endlessly as we move closer. We become immersed and are delighted to become boundaryless in Hershey’s liminal atmosphere where unanswerable questions flow, where the lyrical has replaced the narrative and where time and light make beautiful pictures.
Nona Hershey’s work is included in public and corporate collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, Library of Congress, Boston Public Library, Harvard Art Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, Minnesota Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Corcoran Museum of Art, Crakow National Museum, Museo Civico, Piacenza, Museo Municipal, Caracas, and the National Print Cabinet, Rome. She has participated in over 200 Print Biennials and Group Exhibitions internationally. She has had residency grants at the Asillah Forum Foundation, Morocco; Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Ireland; Ucross Foundation, WY; Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; the Vermont Studio Center; and twice at the MacDowell Colony, NH. She was awarded a Somerville Arts Council Artist Fellowship Grant, A Massachusetts Cultural Council Award and in 2018, a Massachusetts Cultural Council Finalist Award.
JEFFERSON HAYMAN works with the themes of nostalgia, resonance, common symbols and memory. He lives and works in Tappan, NY a small town located minutes outside of Manhattan and filled with the history of the American War of Independence. From his training and environment Hayman has forged an individual visual sensibility. His photographs are handcrafted silver gelatin, platinum and archival pigment prints that seem historically timeless, captured with a delicacy of tone that harks back to the highest traditions of graphic art. The works are then paired with antique or artist made frames which place each piece into the realm of unique statements. His work can be found in many private and public collections, most notably The Museum of Modern Art Library, The New York Public Library, President Bill Clinton, Robert DeNiro, The Boston Athenaeum and Ralph Lauren.
For this exhibition we are pleased to premier brand new work from Mr. Hayman, photographs printed on to vintage book covers. This leap from prints to objects is not entirely new as Hayman has used objects as frames for his photographs for years but printing directly on the object is new. These new works begin with light falling on texture, skin, fabric and the interplay of subjects and objects, a natural extension of his interest in photography’s history and legacy, but they then seem to become rather than describe. Here he has expanded his love for all things material and increased his involvement, making the resulting artworks experiential rather than descriptive. The viewer’s boundaries between real life, dreams and memories are dissolved and the work becomes the experience of being with each piece.
JOEL JANOWITZ will present new paintings and monotypes. Joel Janowitz has exhibited widely. To date he has had over thirty solo exhibitions. His work can be found in numerous public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Harvard Museums, and the Yale University Art Gallery.
In 2016 Janowitz received his fourth Artist’s Fellowship in painting from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. In 2013 The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation honored him with a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has twice received artist grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Janowitz has taught at Wellesley College (2003-2010), Massachusetts College of Art/Fine Arts Work Center’s Low-Residency MFA program (2006-2010), and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1994-2000). He received his B.A. in Psychology from Brandeis University in 1967 where he studied painting with Philip Guston and drawing with Michael Mazur. He received an M.F.A. in Painting from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1969.
NICHOLAS KAHN and RICHARD SELESNICK will create an immersive and rich installation at the gallery consisting of photographs, costumes and sculpture, all part of their latest story of carnivalesque rituals and gatherings at the margins of a world poised for alarming changes.
KAHN and SELESNICK are a collaborative team who work primarily in the fields of photography and installation art, specializing in fictitious histories set in the past or future. The duo will have an exhibition in 2020 at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. Parts of the installation for this exhibition were developed at their 2019 residency at 20Summers.
RICHARD SELESNICK and NICHOLAS KAHN have been collaborating as Kahn & Selesnick since 1988 on a series of complex narrative photo-novellas and sculptural installations. They were both born in 1964, in New York City and London respectively and both are British citizens. They met at Washington University in St Louis where they collaborated informally from 1982-86 as photography majors. After graduation and a couple of years of showing their art separately they migrated to Cape Cod, Massachusetts to work on an evolving series of projects, some painting based, some photo based, all involving fictional attributions, narratives and sculpture. Between 1988 and 1995 they worked on installations combining painted portraits on plaster panels, bread, honey and wax sculptures displayed in wooden ritual architecture. A residency at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown Massachusetts helped them create an elaborate full-scale oaken chapel; ‘Der Ruteloft des Bet’ubten Bienenkaisers (The Rood-Loft of the Drunken Beekeeper) with 120 painted panels, all of heads in profile sprouting psychoactive plants from their mouths.
Kahn & Selesnick’ s works are tactile and bodied, offering sleight of hand and the quicksilver flash of inspiration as interruptions to our habitual ways of seeing, instead encouraging us to feel the Earth and its history and to know our part in its unfolding story. The results are masterfully executed non-linear tales that appear to dream themselves.
Kahn & Selesnick have participated in over 100 solo and group exhibitions worldwide and have work in over 20 collections, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution. In addition, they have published 3 books with Aperture Press, Scotlandfuturebog, City of Salt, and Apollo Prophecies. Their new book, 100 Views of the Drowning World, recently published by Candela Books is available at the gallery. Nicholas Kahn lives in Ghent, NY with writer, activist and healer Sarah Falkner along their cats, and three hermit crabs. Richard Selesnick lives in the village of Barrytown, NY, with his wife, child, border collie, and a deft mouser. They maintain satellite branches of the Royal Excavation Corps in Bantry , County Cork, Ireland, and in Truro, Cape Cod. They are currently recreating the famous Truppe Fledermaus’s Memory Theatre of 1932 with its full complement of Batfolk, Greenmen, Rope-Slingers, and Death-Dancers in all their Carnivalesque glory.