Gabriela Vainsencher: Epic, Heroic, Ordinary at Asya Geisberg

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Gabriela Vainsencher with “Epic, Heroic, Ordinary” at Asya Geisberg gallery, March 2023

In her solo exhibition at Asya Geisberg Gallery Gabriela Vainsencher exhibits wall hanging porcelain reliefs, referencing the nuts and bolts of motherhood entangled in layers of epic mythological context—Medusa reveals a worried woman with a frying pan and a baby’s pacifier as weapons at hand. The show runs through April 8th, 2023.

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David Dempewolf: Between Optics and Daydreams

David Dempewolf, imago 02 (bird’s eye self portrait), 2013 aqueous media and wax pencil on paper, 10” X 14”, courtesy of artist

Most artists’ studios give us a glimpse into their thought and work process but wandering through David Dempewolf’s studio gives more than a glimpse. It is an experience of entering a wonderous world— a hidden niche reveals a station for experimental animation, a corner serves as a station for wood printmaking, a quaint staircase to a small attic leads to imaginative series of drawings, and a “peephole” in a wall further guides our gaze below, to Marginal Utility, the non-for-profit gallery space he runs with his partner and spouse Yuka Yokoyam. It feels like entering a Borgeisan world where the artist’s thoughts and the endless possibilities of “cataloging” entangle and materialize into a new entity in a tangible space.

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Once She Dries: An Ode to Coral

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Nancy Cohen, Segment of handmade paper loop that circles the gallery. Wire, thread and handmade paper, 80” x 140” x 46,” 2022. Photo credit: Maddie Orton

In the fall of 2019, Meagan Woods, an interdisciplinary artist working in dance, theatre and costume design, attended an arts/science event at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada where she was an MFA student. She was both alarmed and inspired by what she learned about the critical condition of coral reefs around the world caused by climate change. In response, she assembled a team consisting of four colleagues in the MFA Interdisciplinary Arts program and a New-Jersey based visual artist to create what eventually became an innovative, experimental opera/installation called Once She Dries. Besides Woods, the collaborative includes pianist and composer, Casper Leerink; filmmaker, photographer and installation artist, Xinyue Liu; violinist and composer, Kourosh Ghamsari-Esfahani; musician and actress, Amanda Sum; and sculptor and installation artist, Nancy Cohen.

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Crazy River: Umwelt Series Part III

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Crazy River Umwelt Series Part III

A central theme in my Crazy River project has been highlighting the emotional toll of the climate crisis by putting under a microscope, so to speak, my own feelings about not only the impacts of the crisis but the knowledge that humans’ actions are the cause. This series of three on-line essays, thought experiments if you like, expands that project to change the POV to non-human actors that are inextricably bound with the habitat in the Western Catskills: the black-legged or deer tick (Ixodes scapularis), the white-tail deer (Odocoileus virginianus), and Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica). All three have seen their habitat change dramatically through climate change and human interventions. Using my imagination and research, I try to enter the umwelt of all three species, an impossible task, as Thomas Nagel pointed out in “What Is It LIke to Be a Bat,” for which artistic license may give us the best chance to accomplish. My intentions in doing so fall along three axes: theoretical, aesthetic, and spiritual, dimensions all essential to my own art practice. Part III looks at the umwelt–a term normally applied only to animals whose use in this instance I will explain later–of Japanese knotweed from the perspective of the Vajrayana, or Tantric Buddhism.

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Non-Profits Shine at The Outsider Art Fair

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From Creative Growth, Oakland, CA.

This past weekend marked the 30th anniversary of the Outsider Art Fair, which debuted in NYC in 1993 at The Puck Building. Now housed at The Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea, it has come roaring back after a few quiet pandemic years.

Out of the sixty-four galleries exhibiting thirteen were representing non-profit organizations that work with developmentally challenged populations. For me these were the most exciting booths at the fair. The non-profits bring work that is consistently fresh and exciting. This year’s fair included organizations from Germany, Portland Oregon and Chicago that I had not seen in previous years. Several showed work among the most surprising and compelling at the Fair.

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Beyond the Digital at Venus Over Manhattan (uptown)


Installation view of "Beyond Digital", Venus Over Manhattan, 2022
Installation view of “Beyond Digital”, Venus Over Manhattan, 2022. Photo courtesy of Venus Over Manhattan

Artists have been working with technology since the beginning of the 20th Century. This represents an important moment in artmaking’s evolution, which until recently collectors and institutions haven’t wanted much to do with—the result is a lack of historical presence for such works. Without recourse to a history, every few decades promoters herald the emergence of an exciting new realm of expression or experimentation related to a new media, which appears to the uninformed to be without precedence—most recently it was the crypto-driven NFT market. It is this lack of a sense of history that makes it possible for the organizers of Beyond Digital to claim that this exhibition brings together pioneering artists whose works explore the possibilities of bridging the digital and physical realms. Problematically, this project is more than 50 years old and is built upon one that dates back to the start of the 20th century, when artists working in the modernist tradition started to adapt technology to art to produce light organs, slideshows and kinetic art.

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Kahori Kamiya: Long Eclipse at Amos Eno

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Kahori Kamiya, Solo show Long Eclipse Installation view at Amos Eno Gallery

Long Eclipse, Kahori Kamiya’s NY debut solo exhibition currently showing at Amos Eno Gallery, delves into the artist’s deeply personal experience of motherhood, breastfeeding, and the impact of the pandemic. Through paintings and sculptures, Kamiya explores the emotions and challenges of this unique time in her life, while also reflecting on themes of racial discrimination and grief. Her organic shapes run through semi-figurative drawings and painted sculptures, resonating with ancient Japanese spirituality and its relation to nature. The show runs through March 26, 2023.

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David Syre’s Black Drawings: The Inner Light

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Installation view, David Syre: The Black Drawings, SARAHCROWN New York, 2023.

The creative process is inexplicable. It doesn’t require anything but what the creator needs or chooses to use, and there are no guidelines as to how it works: Tolstoy felt he had to write “each day without fail.” Robert Rauschenberg often had The Young and the Restless on television at his studio. Virginia Woolf used to walk miles and miles. There is no telling what will ignite the process, but like a flash of lightning or fireworks in the night sky, it contains such a force that with the right conditions, generates sublime beauty. American outsider artist David Syre found this force when he was only a child in his Pacific Northwestern family home: The intuitive act of pushing crayons on paper on the floor of his grandmother’s kitchen remained in the heart of his practice. Syre’s art evolved and transformed in time, but the pastels remained––in the end, it turned into a persistent, continuing series of over 4500 pastel drawings on black paper. 40 of these drawings are now hanging on the walls of SARAHCROWN New York, a young contemporary gallery in Tribeca, and at the gallery’s booth at the Outsider Art Fair, gathered for two concurrent solo exhibitions titled David Syre: The Black Drawings.

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Whisperings from the Wormhole with @talluts

Beware the Leave-It-Like-That

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Moby Dick Illustration by Augustus Burnham Shute, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Gather round, me hearties, and let me tell you a tale: a tale about a much-dreaded comment received by many an artist on Instagram and during a studio visit. This comment can sound like a terrifying roar made by a fearsome beast. And it’s called—the “Leave-It-Like-That.

It’s the kind of comment we might receive on our works-in-progress (a struggling fawn just starting its wobbly walk). And we may have blithely thought to ourselves, “Hey, why don’t I post this WIP on the ‘Gram and give people a window into my process!” But…Beware ye who enter here. This generous sneak peek could attract a Leave-It-Like-That (or even its frightening brethren: the “Stop-Don’t-Touch-It” or the “Looks-Finished-To-Me”).

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Melanie Daniel at Mindy Solomon SHADOW WEAVING

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Artist in studio, 2022

The oil paintings featured in Shadow Weaving, Melanie Daniel’s second solo show at Mindy Solomon, depict magical landscapes of forests, ponds, and their inhabitants—a moth, a pair of coyotes, a beetle, an occasional mystical spirits. The paintings begin for her as meditations and transform into fleeting environments—both hallucinatory and recognizable. The show runs through March 18th. 2023.

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