Over-Compression in Ridgewood Open Studios, curated by Eunice Chen

featured exhibition
Image Courtesy by Rocio Segura

Over-Compression, a group show featured in Ridgewood Open Studios, is the culmination of Eunice Chen Yuyue’s curator-in-residence program at Level Gallery, supported by Rockella Space. From February to April 2024, Eunice visited over 20 artists in their studios at One Eyed Studios and Brown Bear Studios. The exhibition highlights the work of Brooklyn and Queens artists, including Christine Abraham, Luis Aguilera, Britt Harrison, Ben Blaustein, Alexander Brewington, Sir, King David, Karryl Eugene, Yunierki Felix, Joe Gray, Kristen Heritage, Jason Karolak, Teddy Lane, Sheila Lanham, Sfera Louis, Spencer Patrick, Jean Rim, Alejandra Rojas, Chimera Singer, Md Tokon, and Amanda Valle. Over-Compression is displayed across five galleries at One Eyed Studios, running from May 3rd to May 19th, 2024.

Tell us about your curatorial vision for this project and more about the context in which you are showing it.

In my curatorial practice, I am concerned about mobility labor, memory in migration and diaspora, and environmental injustice. My diverse socio-cultural background has prompted my curation curiosity towards exploring multidisciplinary artistic practices from grassroots, self-learning, immigrant, and community-based artists. My exhibitions focus on how art spaces interact with local communities through interdisciplinary discourses. These curatorial research and practices serve as the mediations between differences of identity, nationality, race, gender, sexuality, and social capital.

I feel like the exhibition in Ridgewood Open Studios is an opportunity to practice my curatorial research about community-based art, as most artists and colleagues are immigrants, art laborers, and multi-language artists based in Queens and Brooklyn. Inspired by Claire Bishop’s Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, I would like to discuss if alternative spaces, such as artists’ studios, are able to spontaneously initiate and bring the original art gathering into public view rather than showing the participatory art in museums or galleries. Meanwhile, as an Asian who grew up and studied in China for more than 20 years and worked in the United States, it is a learning process for me to communicate with the local communities about social and political injustice in New York City.

During my residency at Level Gallery, I found out that metropolitan life, both in the virtual and physical realm, has an impact on artists’ creativity. In the era of information overload, more data continues to be compressed into a larger and smoother appearance—an electronic screen or monitor. The exhibition showcases artists’ diverse identities in the oversaturated city. The artists offer new coping mechanisms for managing information overflow in virtual and physical spaces through drawings, paintings, photographs, and sculptures.

Image Courtesy by Rocio Segura

Tell us about the work in this show.

In the first gallery, artists distill vast amounts of social news and pop culture into their artworks. Alexander Brewington, immersed in the dynamic street life of New York City, vividly paints the diverse social movements that pulse through the city’s veins. Similarly, Yunierki Felix uses a rich palette of acrylic, graphite, and pastel to address pressing social topics and pop culture, infusing his reflections into each piece. Joe Gray’s mixed media installation illustrates self-portraiture, presented through a darkly imaginative lens. Meanwhile, Karryl Eugene juxtaposes social media news and academic readings with his paintings, mirroring Black American culture’s frenetic pace and complexity.

Image Courtesy by Rocio Segura

In this gallery, charged with alternative masculinity of body language, Spencer Patric and Teddy Lane’s paintings correspond with Singer’s fabrics installations and Ben Blaustein’s image collages. Chimera Singer‘s photographs of nude cisgender heterosexual males were digitally printed on blankets and fabrics, draped elegantly over steel scaffolds. Ben Blaustein meticulously arranges his cyanotype images into collages on the walls and windows. These art pieces deeply explore body language, seeking to embody a phenomenological experience that reflects the subjects’ perceptions.

On the gallery floor, Alejandra Rojas’s tactile sculptures catch the eye, adorned with delicate sparkles that subtly recall the texture of coral skin. Nearby, David King’s pencil drawings, Sid Denison’s collages, and Britt Harrison’s oil paintings on wood of various shapes explore the theme of water. Their works capture the shapeless, diverse, and indefinite power of flowing water, each artist bringing a unique perspective to fluidity and liquidity through their own art language.

Opening, Image Courtesy by Rocio Segura

Eunice Chen Yuyue is an independent curator and researcher based in New York City. She completed her M.A. in Curatorial Practice at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She earned a B.S. from Chongqing University and an M.M. from the University of Melbourne. She is currently a fellow-traveler at Social Practice CUNY and a curator in residency program at Level Gallery, supported by Rockella Space. Her curatorial practice has been shown in CP Space in Manhattan, Jersey City, and Pfizer Building in Brooklyn. Previously, she has worked at Bergen Assembly 2022 in Norway, the LUXELAKES A4 Art Museum in Chengdu, the Zhejiang Art Museum in Hangzhou, and TEDxCQU 2016 in Chongqing. She was honored with the SVA Alumni Scholarship and the third prize for Curating Virtual Exhibitions commissioned by the Central Academy of Fine Arts.