Jessica Lagunas: With Every Fiber at Pelham Art Center

The artist and “Por siempre joven” (Forever Young) Series. Installation at the Bronx Museum’s The Block Gallery, 2019. Photo courtesy Argenis Apolinario/The Bronx Museum of the Arts

Jessica Lagunas is Interested in working with unconventional materials—makeup, hair, perfume, organic materials—through video-performance, installation, drawing, prints, artist books, embroidery, and recently, weaving. She is a New York City-based Latinx artist, whose group exhibitions include El Museo del Barrio’s The (S) Files Biennial, The Bronx Museum of the Arts’ Artist in the Marketplace, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA at Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara and Laxart, among others.

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Holly Wong: Phoenix at SLATE Contemporary

In Dialogue with Holly Wong

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Holly Wong working on “Phoenix.” Graphite on drafting film with sewing. 132 x 132 in. Photo courtesy of Al Wong

Phoenix, Holly Wong’s first solo show in the San Francisco Bay area is scheduled from April 1, 2021 through May 31, 2021 at SLATE in Oakland, features work she has created during the shelter in place order over the past year. These body of work reflects her spiritual and visual responses to the pandemic, and her sense of need for personal and social transformation through a wide variety of expressions, which include Phoenix, the large-scale drawing-based installation, other larger scale paintings on paper, a series of more intimate works on paper, and assemblages. Holly Wong says that as a response to her deep sense of loss and grief at the state of world affairs, she created a large mythical bird as a metaphor for her own body—”In Phoenix I see my desire for purification, cleansing and rebirth,” she says. When the artist thinks of the central theme of the show, she remembers excerpts from the Buddha’s Fire Sermon:

“The mind is burning, ideas are burning, mind-consciousness is burning, mind-contact is burning…” “Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust, with the fire of hate, with the fire of delusion.”

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Katerina Lanfranco: Nature Poems at Sweet Lorraine

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Katerina Lanfranco Rose Garden, 2020. Oil paint and mixed media on canvas, 22 x 28”

Art is a refuge both for the viewer and the maker. Katerina Lanfranco’s recent exhibition at Sweet Lorraine Gallery, Nature Poems, offers respite from these strange and unsettling times. The exhibition starts with an exquisite painting titled, Bouquet for You. Its deft placement in the gallery is significant as it presages the story of the entire show in microcosm. Three encapsulated womb-like flower forms grow amid a dense, swirling, chaotic background teeming with what look like sperm cells and luminous spinning orbs. Practically buzzing with a sparkler’s sizzle, this wellspring of life is shot through with skeins of golden paint tracing through and around the orbs. The golden trails recall the rays of golden light falling onto the Virgin in Renaissance Annunciation scenes. Here instead of symbolizing the conception of Christ, Lanfranco suggests the secular, “scientific” conception of the Universe.

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Public Events in all Five Boroughs

Local Artists and Cultural Organizations in Each Borough to Host Outdoor, Socially Distanced Press Conferences with Performances March 18-19

FreeDa Banana leading an outdoor dance class during LEIMAY Block Party. Image courtesy LEIMAY.
Image Credit: Shige Moriya

One year after New York City’s arts and cultural sector suddenly shut down over the period of one week in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, events in each borough will mark the somber anniversary. Comprised of speeches by local elected/cultural leaders and performances by New York artists, this day of programming memorializes the shut down while looking forward to the needs of a resilient NY artistic community. The events are united by the dual themes of #CultureRemembers and #CultureForward, and will take place on Thursday, March 18, and Friday, March 19. Local leaders and artists will participate in all of them.

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Beth Dary at The Front Room Gallery

Art Spiel Photo Story

Installation view

The Front room Gallery hosts an online tour of “Aqua/Terra”, the beautiful and evocative solo exhibition of sculpture, installation, photograms, layered egg tempera and encaustic drawings by New York Artist, Beth Dary. The artworks in “Aqua/Terra” explore the power of water throughout natural forms and forces of nature, as a force to shape the land, sustain life, and destroy it. Beth Dary’s work also responds to the effect of human activity on land and water – bubbles of ancient carbon dioxide captured in Arctic ice, the rising tides due to the climate crisis, and fractal patterns formed by the liquid contaminants in urban runoff – in transition due to our culture’s impact on the environment.  

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Nancy Elsamanoudi in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center

In Dialogue with Nancy Elsamanoudi

Artist at home with paintings during lockdown, May 2020

Nancy Elsamanoudi says she was drawn to painting because of its fluid relationship to time from the viewer’s and the painter’s perspectives alike. The viewer gets a visceral sense of the painter’s vision in the past, and the painter experiences the fluidity of time throughout the process of painting. Elsamanoudi further specifies: “when you paint, you can, so to speak, go back and forth through time, adding layers-submerging the past or revealing the past by scraping or stripping away previous layers.”

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Alienation and Elation at Art During the Occupation

FIRST LOOK  at Sharilyn Neidhardt’s solo exhibition

Opening later this week

Sharilyn Neidhardt , If I Can’t Find You There, I Don’t Care, 2017
oil on unframed canvas, approx 54 x 70 in, photo courtesy of the artist

Sharilyn Neidhardt’s vivid paintings in SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLE, at Art During the Occupation Gallery resonate with the zeitgeist of late-stage capitalism, when human connections are strained by a barrage of information and convenience. The fractured urban landscapes she portrays bring to mind reflective surfaces and fragmentation, altogether projecting a simultaneous sense of alienation and elation that are associated with any big city life. Continue reading “Alienation and Elation at Art During the Occupation”

Mie Yim – Her Gut Eye

For Mie Yim painting is like falling backward without a net. Her approach to painting is highly intuitive and her process seems to grow organically out of her life experience. In the interview with Art Spiel she shares some background on her art, process, and current show at Ground Floor Gallery.

Mie Yim, Pearly whites, 2018 ,,Oil on canvas, 16”x20”, photo credit Christian Nguyen

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 Rosaire Appel – Cajoling sound and image

Rosaire Appel, your face, abstract comic, 2016, 16×20” pigment print, photo courtesy of the artist

Rosaire Appel ‘s rigorous graphic explorations reveal an acute sensibility to the elusive line between language / sound and image. Her skills as a photographer, writer and draftswoman seamlessly coalesce in her book forms. We first met when I covered her exhibition at Schema Projects in 2013 – her  abstract comics engaged me with their endless imaginative iterations and I have been curious to learn how her work has evolved since. Continue reading ” Rosaire Appel – Cajoling sound and image”

Amulets Ethereal at Barney Savage

Amulets Ethereal, partial installation view, photo courtesy of Barney Savage gallery

“Amulets Ethereal,” the thought provoking group exhibition curated by Jenny Mushkin Goldman at Barney Savage features works by Kharis Kennedy, Adam Krueger & Tableaux VivantsVictoria Manganiello & Julian Goldman, Qinza Najm, Cheryl R. Riley, and Ashley Zelinskie. The artworks in this show run the gamut from manipulated found objects, like Cheryl Riley’s old farm tools and Qinza Najm’s carpet, to fabricated sculptures like Ashley Zelinskie’s 3-d printed futuristic cyborgs and Victoria Manganiello / Julian Goldman’s computerized weaving; from wearable art like the sewn tattooed silicon mask by the duo  Adam Krueger and Tableaux Vivants to Kharis Kennedy’s mysterious painting of a masked figure with a goat. Collectively the artworks are recontextualized as open-ended ritualized objects and images endowed with the questionable power to shield the viewer from the most tenuous of perceived dangers. Continue reading “Amulets Ethereal at Barney Savage”