John Parks: “Putti”

John Alexander Parks 
Putti
November 15 – December 22, 2018.

 

                                                                                                                                               

Indefatigable New York/British painter John A. Parks, takes on the subject of putti, those mysteriously animated infants who show up in so many classical paintings. Aping and often exaggerating adult behavior, they reflect the complexities of human interaction in ways that can be both charming and frightening.  Parks paints them fighting, whispering, frolicking, dancing and flying as he explores and exploits their curious existence.  Part artistic convention  and part real children, his putti offer a tool for the painter’s imagination, a vehicle with which he can make explicit the powerful forces of attraction, deceit and violence while presenting them in a form that is often beguilingly playful. Parks has also used putti to substitute for the traditional classical figures of the constellations, filling the night sky with combinations of putti interacting in all manner of improbable ways. While many of his paintings are executed in a straightforward oil technique he has also explored heavier surfaces in some of them, creating powerful sgraffito drawing scored through layers of thick acrylic paste, and then building paintings richly soaked in color on this heavily textured surface. These works take on some of the authority and curiosity of ancient mural cycles, brought up to date with an edgy touch, fine drawing and a sparkling imagination. 

John A. Parks (1952 ) was born and educated in England earning a masters degree in painting from the Royal College of Art, London.  He has lived in New York since the late seventies and exhibited his work for many years with the Allan Stone Gallery. While his early work was realist in nature his later work has explored a variety of avenues in representational painting.  He is a member of the faculty of the School of Visual Arts, New York.

Categories: Exhibitions Past

Lifeline as Medium: Recent Works by Arghavan Khosravi and Cecilia Charlton

 
Lifeline as Medium: Recent Works by Arghavan Khosravi and Cecilia Charlton 

October 18 – November 13, 2018

 
In Lifeline as Medium, Thomas Jaeckel Gallery showcases two bodies of recent work from Iranian-born painter Arghavan Khosravi and American artist Cecilia Charlton. Both artists’ creations convey a strong sense of the ancient in dialogue with the contemporary; each uses an inventive combination of diverse mediums, both traditional and modern; and both work with compelling imagery that demands the viewer’s participation to reveal hidden meanings and elusive narratives that are only hinted at by surface appearances. The works on display are the product of two lives lived under the influence of a vast and varied range of past experiences, as well as a strong commitment to discovering a new life for traditional art and craft processes within the realm of contemporary art. A dual portrait emerges of two artists striving — each in her own unique way — to make us question where we’ve been and where we’re going.

Categories: Exhibitions Past

Carlos Rodriguez Cardenas: Geographical Mind in the Architecture of Landscape

                                                                                                                                                   
Carlos Rodríguez Cárdenas

Geographical Mind in the Architecture of Landscape 

September 13 – October 13, 2018

Jaeckel Gallery is pleased to present Geographical Mind in the Architecture of Landscape, an exhibition of recent works by Carlos Rodríguez Cárdenas. In his native Cuba during the 1980s, Carlos Rodríguez Cárdenas developed an influential style of painting that deployed irony, sly humor, and a shrewd parody of High-Modernist sophistication to mock the conceits of official state-sponsored imagery and utopian sloganeering. In Geographical Mind in the Architecture of Landscape Cárdenas turns a discerning eye toward the United States, delivering a body of work that seems at first glance like a love letter to the American landscape and to the modern city—New York being his adopted home of many years now—yet gradually reveals an undercurrent of wariness and disquiet about our national myths and pretensions. Alongside this is an extended meditation on his own migrations, and on the endless tension between the fundamental human desire for stability and the inevitability of flux in our lives.

References to monumental constructions, modern technology, and utopian aspirations have always been a cornerstone of Cárdenas’s visual language. In these works, he uses such imagery to powerful effect, juxtaposing bold, semi-abstracted renditions of cityscapes and sea vessels with picturesque antique views of landmark buildings and collaged insets from maps of the U.S. and other countries; the combination evokes the grand narratives of progress and power that have always informed this country’s collective self-image, yet also makes these stories seem quaint, or even wistfully naive. The centerpiece of the show (The Journey, 2007-2018) is a frieze-like row of paintings with a squarely frontal view of tiny stylized skyscrapers and ships perched atop a massive wall of gargantuan bricks and gloomily featureless towers. The effect is something like the monotonous terrain of an old-school side-scrolling video game, suggesting perpetual travel with neither rest nor peace. Yet the varied light-blue shades of the bricks suggest expanses of open sky and sea, hinting at the possibility of freedom and escape from the strictures of law and dogma. The Bunker (2015) hints at similar notions via a pentaptych depicting a gargantuan seaborne ark/metropolis, while Geographical Mind  (2018) combines a clock face, compass points, and small circular insets from road maps of the U.S., Cuba, and Mexico, referencing the age-old human drive to dominate nature’s unruliness (and our own) with artificially imposed systems and structures.

Cárdenas understands classic visual metaphors for our cities and landscapes well, and he quotes them to great effect. His minimal, stylized buildings are strongly reminiscent of works by other artists we associate with New York in its modernist heyday, ranging from the Precisionist Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth to Georgia O’Keefe and even Joseph Cornell. Small rectangular patches in the diptych American Landscape (2015) recall the vast, clear skies in Ed Ruscha’s Hollywood and Standard Station paintings and the grand-scale mythologizing of the American landscape of the Hudson River School painters. The evocation of these great Modernist chroniclers of the American myth adds a poignant twinge to Cárdenas’s status as the perpetual outsider looking in.

His works are included in such major collections as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany; and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana in Havana.

For further information, please contact Jaeckel Gallery by phone at 1.917.701.3338, or by e-mail at info@532gallery.com

Categories: Past

DANNY ROLPH: “WCW”

Danny Rolph

WCW

May 10 – June 21, 2018

 

PRESS RELEASE

532 Gallery is pleased to announce WCW, an exhibition of new paintings by London-based artist Danny Rolph.  This is the artist’s second solo show with the gallery.

 

Rolph’s exhibition of a new body of work made over the last year showcases the artist’s signature Triplewall paintings.  A continuation of his visually impactful paintings, these new works reflect his evolving exploration of high velocity color and layered narratives.  The compositional potential of his painting strategies on Triplewall plastic allow the viewer’s senses to be fully engaged. The paintings are layered and emotive, combining paint, drawings and collage with art historical and Pop Art references.

 

In the “WCW” painting, there are heraldic motifs and the drawing of a cowboy hat near the top.  Two large floaty irregular cylindrical “shapes”, one outlined and one purple and white, billow across the surface like curtains.  Across the bottom there is a design-like twisted shape in the middle in purple/gray.  Along the bottom two larger areas of yellow bracket a pink rectangle that hangs on bronze strings like a banner without a name.  The composition regains a sort of architectural order with turquoise and pink lines near the center of the painting.  There are many fragments of colors and lens like shapes throughout the painting. 

 

The exhibition’s title WCW is in homage to the American Modernist poet William Carlos Williams whose work the artist has long admired and is evident in the titles chosen such as “red wheelbarrow”.  The poet’s friend, Kenneth Burke, said that poetry is “equipment for living, a necessary guide amid the bewilderments of life”.  Rolph’s new paintings are built around and above model airplane instructions that work as a backdrop for his sharp, delicate, painterly and emotive compositions.  The idea of creating and exploration is thus embedded in the background, and serves as a metaphor for the artist’s studio. 

 

Looping painted lines of color, purple, teal and blue among them, float above as navigational devices.  Prints, watercolors and drawings jostle for attention around all of Rolph’s compositions.  The work throughout the exhibition is a visual equivalent of a poem.

 

Rolph has an MA in painting from the Royal College of Art, London and was the Rome Scholarship at the British School at Rome. His recent solo exhibitions include ‘Painted on the sky’, Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston; ‘Recollection’, 532 Gallery; ‘Atelier’, E.S.A.D. Valence, France; ‘kissing balloons in the jungle’, Poppy Sebire gallery, London; ‘ten minutes from now’, Eden Rock Gallery, St.Barths.  His work is represented in many international collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Tate Gallery, London.

 

For more information, please contact the gallery at info@532gallery.com

 

                                       

Categories: Exhibitions Past

Per Adolfsen: The Ribbons That Tie Us

 

Per Adolfsen
The Ribbons That Tie Us
March 1 – 31, 2018

532 Gallery is pleased to present our second solo exhibition with Danish painter Per Adolfsen. An exhibition of figurative works and portraiture from 2014 to the present The Ribbons That Tie Us showcases the artist’s sensitive rendering of his subjects’ inner lives. A marked break with his previous emotionally charged acrylic paintings that merged representation, abstraction, and text (exhibited at 532 Gallery Jaeckel in 2010), the contemplative oil paintings in The Ribbons That Tie Us demonstrate the artist’s evolving and deepening commitment to breaking past stereotype and false exteriors in order to truly know other people. The neutral palette and minimal backgrounds in many of his paintings allow the viewer to be fully present with the people foregrounded in them who are punctuated by moments of brilliant color—a lavender head scarf, crystalline blue eyes.

Transparent (2017)

In his Transparent series, Adolfsen abandons the superficial cliché as a starting point and instead looks deeply to reveal the multifaceted psyche of his sitter, a fellow artist friend. Transparent II is bathed in an invigorating pale blue haze that permeates the woman’s skin and clothing. The border between her body and the background blurs at times. Is she in a state of dissipation or becoming? Regardless, she stands unperturbed: shoulders square with the viewer, lips cocked in a confident smirk. Not the mere object of a consuming gaze, the woman in Transparent II asserts her own agency by looking back at the viewer. Transparent III shows the same woman slightly larger than life. Once again meeting the viewer’s gaze with blue-green eyes—whose lids are described in sharp orange lines with the geometric structure of Cézanne’s graphite portraits—she appears relaxed, yet strong.

Transparent I reveals a different facet of Adolfsen’s artist friend, and by doing so gives the viewer a fuller picture of her. A powerful warm light threatens to overwhelm the figure—her skin and yellow camisole almost lost in the blinding glow of the background—yet her eyes securely anchor her in space and bind her to the viewer even while a series of quick, repetitive diagonal strokes describing her hair bely an inner anxiety.

Hibba (2016)

Adolfsen’s series of portraits of his Danish-Muslim friend Hibba are the apogee of his journey into empathic, deep looking. In Hibba I we see the bold contour of Hibba’s dignified profile against a background of alabastrine white whose light infuses the composition with warm energy. Brushmarks delicately sitting on the surface of the canvas attentively describe Hibba’s eyes, eyebrows, lips; her self-assured expression and her gaze are simultaneously introspective and assertive. As in all four portraits of Hibba, cascading lines follow the folds of her lavender hijab, which Adolfsen renders beautiful without exoticizing.

In the Hibba series, as in the Transparent series, Adolfsen’s multiple portraits work in concert to reveal a fully dimensional personality. In Hibba II and Hibba III, Hibba looks out at the viewer with disarming humor. She seems to say, “I caught you looking at me. Well, I can look back at you, too!” In Hibba IV she retracts her gaze, and playfully rolls her eyes. Rather than rendering her the passive object of the artist’s gaze, Adolfsen has opened a space where Hibba asserts her own agency.

In contemporary North America and Europe countless phobic and stereotypical images portray Muslim women as either cold and threatening or as helpless and oppressed. (In canonical Western painting Muslim women have been largely invisible, save for their exoticization in nineteenth-century “Orientalist” works.) At other times today, the Muslim woman becomes a political icon, as in Shepard Fairey’s We the People posters (2017), one of which features Queens resident Munira Ahmed wearing a United States flag as hijab. Adolfsen’s Hibba overcomes both extremes: stereotype and icon. By looking and looking again, he is able to truly see Hibba and know who she is outside of any political rhetoric, which in the present climate is paradoxically an implicit political act.

Clichés (2014)

In 2014 Adolfsen painted a series exploring clichéd images of femininity. The most sophisticated works in this series occupy an ambivalent territory: on the one hand they investigate the flattening effects of stereotypes, which he imports from both the weighty tradition of Western figurative painting and contemporary advertising; but on the other hand, they begin to dismantle stereotypical roles and gazes by revealing an emerging agency in their female subjects.

In a pose that could have been appropriated from a cosmetics or facial cleanser advertisement, the poised figure in profile in Spanish Woman looms monumental. The side of her face, cast in cool maroon shadow, deflects the viewer’s gaze forcing it to ricochet among the patterns of painted parallel streaks composing her face and the background. Lubricious painterly lines fluidly slide along the figure in Berlin Woman who stares at the viewer with an intensity that recalls the paintings of Die Brücke. Her nakedness and closed body language suggest vulnerability and guardedness; her clenched fist indicates a latent ferocity. The pose is one that could have been taken from any number of titillating, sexy advertisements, but the figure’s psychological intensity—reinforced by the fiery orange shadows around the eyes—and the androgynous queering of gender defy prepackaged commercial messaging.

The Ribbons That Tie Us (2016)

The exhibition’s title The Ribbons That Tie Us refers to a homonymous series of still lifes included in the show, in which painted bands of ribbon glide back and forth across the surface of the canvas like dancers entering and exiting a stage. In one, orange ribbons occasionally twist and turn abruptly, like leaps and pauses in the choreography. The warmth of this painting’s color and the energy of its movement echoes the vitality of the portraits in the Transparent and Hibba series. In this way the ribbon paintings and their title serve as a metaphor for the relational character of the figurative work throughout the exhibition. In the journey from clichéd images to intimate renderings of friends, Adolfsen uncovers the colorful psychical, emotional, and empathic bonds that tie the artist to his subjects and, in turn, the viewer to the artwork.

Born in 1964, self-taught Danish painter Per Adolfsen has shown his work in New York, Germany, Hong Kong, and Denmark. His exhibitions include several gallery and museum exhibitions, including at the Frederikshavn Kunstmuseum- og Exlibrissamling and at the Kastrupgaardsamlingen. The Ribbons That Tie Us is Adolfsen’s second solo exhibition at 532 Gallery.

Celebrating its 10th year, 532 Gallery’s  objective is to present fresh, vibrant works that capture the aesthetic dynamics of 21st century. The gallery represents a group of international artists who are producing significant works of lasting value that explore, engage and resonate with contemporary visual culture.

Categories: Exhibitions Past

Ten Years After

In celebration of our tenth year in Chelsea, we are pleased to present Ten Years After, an exhibition of works of artists we’ve been privileged to work with over the last decade. The show’s participants include artists from the United States, Spain, Germany, England, and Cuba; the selection of works on display showcases the gallery’s commitment to exhibiting striking and thought-provoking works that embody a wide range of styles, techniques, and artistic visions

The following statements provide insights on the work of each artist on the show’s roster, along with biographical and professional details.

Gustavo Acosta

Gustavo Acosta was born in in Havana, Cuba in 1958, and is currently based in Miami. His intensely hued portrayals of sites in Havana, Miami, New York, and the Middle East feature rectilinear overlays of strong, intensely moody colors that integrate multiple allusions to reason and its traditions — the ideal planned-city street grid; the Golden Ratio and its long history as a supposedly true and self-evident compositional principle; the sharp-edged, no-nonsense Bauhaus aesthetic — with subtle references to the small flashes of vitality and inspiration that lurk within even the most drab and desolate environments. His canvases engage with neglected, antiquated, and somber settings, in the hope of revealing their meaning and living purpose for the present.

Per Adolfsen

Per Adolfsen’s emotionally charged acrylic paintings seamlessly merge representational and abstract elements that activate the works with surprising “funhouse” effects of fear, foreboding and buoyancy. The dream-like floating tableaux, replete with swirling figures and fragmented architectural forms, engage the viewer in a seductive world of fantasy and uncertainty that recalls classic Scandinavian angst.

Adolfsen lives and works in Odense, Denmark, where he was born in 1964. He has had several gallery and museum exhibitions, including at the Frederikshavn Kunstmuseum- og Exlibrissamling and at the Kastrupgaardsamlingen.

Diana Copperwhite

Diana Copperwhite’s work stems from an idiosyncratic practice that embraces the temporal nature of painting practice. This encompasses working with large-scale wall installations, large canvases and an ongoing interest in the human portrait. Diana Copperwhite, born 1969, lives and works in Dublin. Copperwhite has exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad. Recent Solo shows include Crooked Orbit, Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin, Depend on the morning sun, Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, New York, 2016, Driven by Distraction at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland, 2016, A Million and One Things Under the Sun, Kevin Kavanagh, Dublin, 2015, Shadowland , Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, New York, 2014, solo presentations at Volta NY, 2013 and at PULSE NY, 2015 where she was nominated for the PULSE prize. She has shown in shows at the University Museum of the Arts, Tokyo, 2017, Highlanes Municipal Art Gallery 2015, Crawford Gallery Cork, 2013, Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, 2012, Temple Bar Gallery and Studios Dublin, 2012, Irish Museum of Modern Art, 2011, University of Western Sydney Australia, 2009, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, 2009, Centro Culturel Tecla Sala Barcelona 2008. Copperwhite was awarded the AIB Art Prize in 2007, which resulted in a major monograph and touring exhibition of her work. Her recent publication Fake New World was published to coincide with a wall drawing and recent exhibition at the RHA Gallery Dublin, it features a recent biography written by Gail Levin. Her work is held in many important public collections including the Office of Public Works, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Arts Council of Ireland, Limerick City Gallery of Art, as well as private collections in Ireland, across Europe and in the United States.

Susana Guerrero

“My artwork comes from a daily experience where I create a contemporary mythology that puts on a same level the physical reality, the oneiric material of dreams, the subconscious, magic, the offering, the visible and the hidden reality that surround us.

“A reformulation of ancient mythologies that merged together become part of my artwork in conjunction with my personal experience of the sacred through mythical stories, traditions and legends, rituals, superstitions and intuitive revelations.

“The process of making the artwork it’s like a ritual; the choice of every material, the configuration of every shape, of every element, brings a poetic meaning and symbolism to the artwork. The process as exorcism, the transformation of physical pain as purification of the body and the spirit, its laceration as the offering to the miracle of life.”

Ian Hughes

“For more than 20 years I have been probing an artistic vein in which naturalistic forms shape-shift on top of a flat color-space. I often feel like I’m searching for the psychological and emotional linkage between brain and viscera so that the work forms a kind of connective tissue with the viewer.”

Ian Hughes received his B.A. in 1981 from Yale College, where he also attended the Yale Summer School of Art at Norfolk, CT. He received his MFA in 1984 from Columbia University School of Art. His work has appeared in numerous group shows in New York City, including featured exhibitions at The Drawing Center (Selections 31) and a White Room exhibit at White Columns (1991) curated by Bill Arning. In 1998, Artists’ Space featured three large Hughes paintings in an exhibition celebrating its 25th Anniversary and curated by Irving Sandler, Founder, and Claudia Gould, Director. Gallery Thomas Jaeckel has presented three solo exhibitions of paintings in New York (2010, 2012, and 2014), and group exhibitions in Miami, including Art Winwood and Context:Miami. In 2012, under the auspices of Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, Hughes was selected for a solo booth in the inaugural edition of UNTITLED: Miami, curated by Omar Lopez-Chahoud.

Ian Hughes lives and works in New York City. He is an adjunct Assistant Professor of Foundation Design at Parsons The New School of Design.

Julie Langsam

Julie Langsam is a painter whose works examines the legacy of modernism within the context of the 21st century. Langsam has had numerous exhibitions, including a solo museum show at MOCA Cleveland; is the recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award; and is represented in corporate collections throughout the United States such as the Progressive Corporation, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and B&F Capital Markets, among others.

Recent solo exhibitions include: Gallery Thomas Jaeckel in NYC; Richard & Dolly Maass Gallery, SUNY Purchase, Purchase, NY; Reykjavik Art Gallery in Reykjavik, Iceland; and Espai 8 in Barcelona, Spain. Other solo exhibitions include Frederieke Taylor Gallery; Michael Steinberg Fine Art; and Clementine Gallery, all in New York City. Group exhibitions include the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY; CCA Andratx in Mallorca, Spain; Caren Golden Fine Art, NYC; Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, NYC; Foundation Mona Bismarck, Paris, France; and the Drawing Center, NYC.

She has been written about in the New York Times; Art in America; Dwell Magazine; The Plain Dealer; BOMB Magazine; The New Jersey Star Ledger; NY Arts International; Artnet and ArtCritical.
Among Langsam’s other activities, she is curator of such exhibitions as Color as Structure at Frederieke Taylor Gallery in NYC and The Big Bang at SPACES Gallery in Cleveland, OH. She is co-curator of the exhibitions Arte Povera American Style: Funk, Play, Poetry & Labor (CIA); It’s A Wonderful Life: Psychodrama in Contemporary Painting; House Case Study Cleveland; and Artist’s For A New Era (SPACES).

Langsam is the former Motto Endowed Chair and Head of Painting at the Cleveland Institute of Art. She is currently Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.

Armando Marino

Armando Mariño produces richly expressive paintings, sculptures, and installations that merge abstraction and representation, the everyday and the surreal, and nature and culture. Among his sculptures, for example, is a house upraised atop a forest of human legs. His paintings also feature fantastical imagery, including a girl sprouting mushrooms from her body. The colors in his paintings are hyper-bright, recalling the saturated hues of our digital culture. Decidedly of his time, Mariño often seeks the spark for his work online. As he has explained: “I just Google an image and save it until I’m ready to use it . . . It’s the way that the picture talks to you . . . but also . . . the way you can add something. There’s something else that comes only from the hands of the painter.”

Mariño was born in Santiago de Cuba in 1968, and currently lives and works in New York. His works are held in numerous public and private collections including: Deutsche Bank Collection, USA; 21C Museum Hotels, Kentucky; Coca Cola Foundation, Spain; and Shelley & Donald Rubin Collection, New York.

John A. Parks

“Ever since the Romans dreamed them up putti have accompanied many kinds of imagery. Rediscovered by Renaissance painters, they appear in countless works throughout the centuries, cheerfully mirroring and often exaggerating grownup behavior. Having worked on narrative paintings for the last few years, I’ve recently been using putti because they give me the opportunity to explore human gestures and interactions in a way that is playful, sometimes bizarre and strangely universal. Using them often feels absurd or wayward but the possibilities for invention, humor and insight into human behavior seem compelling. Putti are also mysterious beings; in the end none of the painters who used them knew who or what they are. Neither do I.”

Elio Rodriguez

“All my work in general deals with the question of identity, understood as the system of judgments about a person, culture or phenomenon. This question is generally treated from the prism of Caribbean popular culture, using the humor and elements of this culture, and such clichés formed about the culture, that when it comes from them, it builds images that simultaneously incarnate that reality, and question it.

“The ambivalence of genres is also a topic that is near to me, a game of illusions with the spectator, the doubt in the identity of a concept or an image, the phenomena that pretend to be one thing, but that are really something else or both at the same time.

Although my work has a conceptual root, where the idea conditions formal elements; the sensory sense, the sensations that emanate from the forms of my work are fundamental to them. In my artwork I am used to working with different media depending on how interested I am: painting, installations, sculptures, prints, ceramics; this, however, has been associated generally with the soft sculpture (sewn and stuffed fabrics), a technique that brings me closer to the craftwork of the popular cultures of the Caribbean, incorporating real chosen objects.”

Elio Rodriguez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1966. He graduated from the Higher Institute of Art (ISA), Cuba in 1989. He has been awarded Art Residencies at Hutchins Institute, Harvard University, at Mattress Factory Art Museum, Pittsburg and given lectures in several Universities as Harvard University, NYU, Swarthmore College among others. His artwork has been displayed in several solo and group shows around the world and Art Fairs like Context Art Fair, Miami, FL/ Pulse Art Fair, NYC/ New York Context Art Fair, NYC/ Southampton Art Fair, WaterMill, NY/ Flux Art Fair Harlem, NYC. His work is present in several collections as National Arts Museum, Cuba/ Jersey City State University, USA/ Foundation AMBA, Brazil/ Hainaut City Hall, Belgium/ Peggy Crafitz Collection, Washington, DC, USA/ Center For Cuban Studies, New York, NY/ The von Christierson Collection, London/ Shelley & Donald Rubin Collection, New York/ W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University.

Danny Rolph

Rolph’s triplewall and canvas paintings construct their grammar of signs through material engagement and unprincipled investigations into the history of the ‘pictorial’. Driven by a unique approach to color he consistently produces compositions with attitude and visual dexterity.

His forthcoming solo show at 532gallery is planned for May 2018. Other recent solo exhibitions include “Painted on the sky,” Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston (2016) “Recollection”, 532gallery, New York (2015), “Paradiso,” Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston (2014), “Atelier”, E.S.A.D, Valence, France (2013). Rolph’s work is in many private and public collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Tate gallery, London as well as the Duke and Duchess of Westminster. He recently completed a large installation for Facebook HQ and is visiting Professor in Fine Art at Bucks New University.

Piers Secunda

Piers Secunda was born in London in 1976 and studied painting at Chelsea College of Art in London. Secunda has developed a studio practice using paint in a sculptural manner, rejecting the limitations imposed by the canvas. His intensive research based work, split into distinctly separate groups, explores the driving forces of both passive and aggressive human needs: Examining the effects of violent geopolitics on both people and culture, by moulding bullet and bomb damage from war zones and the sites of historic conflicts, to make works. And recording energy history using crude oil as a printing medium, to examine post industrial revolution developments, both cultural and technological, which define our world today.

Tanja Selzer

Born in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, Tanja Selzer completed her studies at the University of Applied Sciences, Department of Design in Hamburg, Germany. Her focus lies in painting. With her work, she explores the boundaries of voyeuristic situations and their social consequences. Since 2005 her work is exhibited nationally and internationally and is part of public and private collections. In 2008 she won the Gesellschafter art award with a special exhibition at the Art Fair 21 in Cologne. Currently she lives in Berlin.

Jose Angel Vincench

I suggest, perhaps absurdly, that Vincench’s idiosyncratic constructions are symbolic self-portraits—highly personal expressive assertions of his individuality, both as an abstract artist and autonomous individual, in subliminal defiance of a tightly controlled society and authoritarian ideology. In On the Spiritual in Art Kandinsky held idiosyncrasy in high esteem, arguing that it was a sign of genuine, unique personality. However ironically, Vincench is a spiritual artist in a materialistic society, all the more ironically because he uses the most socially valuable as well as spiritually significant of all materials to make his art. — Donald Kuspit, from a forthcoming essay on Vincench.

Categories: Exhibitions Past

Gustavo Acosta: “Inventory of Omissions”

 

September 7 – October 14, 2017

The paintings in Gustavo Acosta’s “Inventory of Omissions” may initially seem like discrete chapters in a visual essay on the oppressive bleakness of the modern city, but such a reading misses the point of his static but intensely hued portrayals of sites in Havana, Miami, New York, and Aleppo. A closer and more thoughtful observation of these canvases reveals the artist’s focus on drawing our attention to the small flashes of vitality and inspiration lurking within each setting’s apparent drabness, and quietly warning us about the things that threaten to obscure our awareness of the vibrant world that’s immediately around us. Throughout these works, there is a concern with engaging with the neglected and the antiquated in the hope of revealing its meaning and its living purpose for the present.

Acosta’s rectilinear overlays of strong, intensely moody colors are the defining element of a unique visual language that integrates multiple subtle allusions to reason and its traditions — the ideal planned-city street grid; the Golden Ratio and its long history as a supposedly true and self-evident compositional principle; the sharp-edged, no-nonsense Bauhaus aesthetic — each of which in turn so partly symbolizes humanity’s forceful and conceited imposition of a supposedly more perfect and efficient order upon nature’s seeming unruliness.

However, each filter-like patch of color also hints that there are life-affirming revelations awaiting discovery in the seemingly exhausted old world immediately around us. The dawn-to-midnight juxtaposition of yellow, maroon, and dark violet in Catalog of Missing Parts II (2017) suggests a single scene viewed at different times through disparate eyes; the painting’s sunny accentuation of a few lively windblown palm trees clustered alongside a massive, inert concrete complex speaks of life’s joyous persistence in the face of entropy, cultural stagnation, and humanity’s fussy and stubborn desire to forever halt time by means of structures and systems. Acosta has said that his use of color in these works is partly rooted in an old memory of people in his native Cuba crafting their own versions of color television by tinting their black-and-white screens with abstract patterns of bright pigments. The story is a perfect symbol of Acosta’s faith in people’s ability to create their way out of the stultifying constrictions of a programmed rational system, if only they can learn to look closely at the world around themselves in search of its small wonders.

Yet Acosta’s paintings also remind us of how easily memory and perception can become fuzzy, especially when technology and mediation intervene to obscure our most vivid and immediate experiences of the world around us. In The Temptation to Look Back (2017), the serene, dark-blue image of a ship’s wake is violently bisected by a thin, garish yellow band that distorts the sea’s graceful undulations into a garish pixelated parody (once again, a technological grid intrudes and has its way with the natural world). A view of Niagara Falls is given a similar treatment in The Shortcut (2017), with an added wrinkle: the scene is derived from an 1857 painting by Frederic Edwin Church, making Acosta’s canvas an image of an image, a scene twice removed from nature and twice distorted by an additional level of nostalgic artistic and historical mediation. In these images, Acosta hints that we must never take nature or our connection with it for granted; there’s always another intrusive and artificial system of control lurking on the margins, waiting to deaden our perceptions. As in his cityscapes, the question as to whether our use of the world will help us perceive its concealed spark of divine life or lead us to snuff it out through domination and neglect is left up for grabs, and it’s up to us to never let our perpetually endangered sense of wonder become permanently entombed beneath the rubble of our collective past.

Whitehot Magazin Review October 2017

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Categories: Exhibitions Past

LAST PICTURE SHOW

May 11 – June 29, 2017

Chris Ofili, Danny Rolph, Diana Copperwhite,  Elio Rodriguez, Mary Heilmann,  Jill Levine, Rebecca Smith, Vanessa Jackson

there is no harm in repeating a good thing
-Plato

An exhibition of work which posits the idea that creativity exists in not knowing, maybe the answer is “I can’t go on, I’ll go on”.  Risk is imperative, but we still know very little about the potential of what works and why.  The pendulum has always swung between abjection and elation. Qualities such as tenderness and humour connect this ensemble, a conversation often overlooked in favour of what can be read or justified. An exhibition showing a particular group of artists, who look to possess these qualities, inhabit new and old at the same time.  History is apparent in a show like this but so is the future through the prism of the present.

The title refers to the Peter Bogdanovich film of 1971 “The Last Picture Show” which was shot entirely in black and white, harking back to an earlier time (again old and new) populated with a soundtrack of pop songs and presenting actors including Cybil Shepherd and Cloris Leachman at different stages of their respective careers in dialogue together. There seems no reason for the town they inhabit in the film (set in 1951) to exist, but the directness and simplicity of the depiction creates a space which allows for dialogue and a kind of transgression to occur?

 

 

Categories: Exhibitions Past

Piers Secunda: ISIS Bullet Holes Paintings



Piers Secunda
ISIS Bullet Holes Paintings

April 6 – May 6, 2017

There is a horror and a fascination in something as apparently permanent as a building, something that one expects to last many a human span, meeting an untimely end.
— Robert Bevan, The Destruction of Memory: Architecture at War

All the shot works originate from the idea that the most valuable thing an artist can do is to record the world around them.
— Piers Secunda

Gathered together and displayed to potent effect at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, Piers Secunda’s ISIS Bullet Hole Paintings are the latest iteration of an ongoing project in which casts of bullet holes gathered from war torn or heavily militarized places are arranged into compositions that serve as both an indexical record of real world damage and a haunting reminder of the threat that contemporary armed conflict presents to our collective history. These works were created through a painstaking and sometimes risky process.
In late 2015 while under the protection of Peshmerga (Kurdish) soldiers, Secunda visited Iraqi villages recently liberated from ISIS and made direct casts of the damage inflicted on walls and other structures by gunfire. On returning to the studio, he arranged these within flat molds derived from ancient Greek and Assyrian artworks, poured in white industrial floor paint, and left it to set. The resulting objects are stark and compelling evocations of the barbaric violation of cultural heritage that is all too common in contemporary wartime. The violent erasure of noble classical imagery—gods, kings, elegant warhorses—beneath Secunda’s constellations of bullet-hole disfigurement elicits an acute feeling of loss and decay. In Assyrian Horse and a relief from the Pergamon:

Temple of Zeus (both 2016), the annihilation unfolds as a sequence of discrete moments frozen in time, with each succeeding panel rendered more fragmentary than the last until there is little to nothing of the original image discernable. Temple of Zeus is particularly pointed, for its use of a slick and absurdly faultless nineteenth-century restoration of the Pergamon Altar seems to hint at the futility of the age-old human desire to reverse the course of time in search of Eden.
Despite the obvious sculptural quality of these works, Secunda considers them to be a natural outgrowth of his continuing evolution as a painter, and has sometimes described them in terms that evoke the centuries-old tradition of arresting time’s passage in paint and freezing fleeting moments before they’re gone forever.

Although the ISIS Bullet Hole Paintings were not conceived as political statements per se, their emergence from his desire to capture the texture of geopolitics in paint has resulted in a body of works that succeeds as both a record of the ravages of time—aided in this case by much human brutality—and as a meditation on how fleeting and fragile even our greatest cultural achievements really are.

Recent exhibitions:
“Pergamon Alterations” New York University Institute of Fine Arts, New York 2016. “Perfectionism III”
Griffin Gallery, London 2016. “Piers Secunda, Circling Skies” Art Bermondsey Project Space, London 2016.
“The Missing: Rebuilding The Past” John Jay College CUNY, New York 2016.
“The Missing: Rebuilding ThePast” Jessica Carlisle Gallery, London 2016.
“Raw: Word And Image” Space 776, Brooklyn 2015.
“Community Hospital” WhyWhyArt, Shanghai 2015.

Art Newspaper March 30, 2017(link)

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Categories: Exhibitions Past

The Weight of Words: Golden Irony

Jose Angel Vincench
“The Weight of Words: Golden Irony”
March 9 – April 1, 2017

My abstraction starts with testimony of the violent actions on the dissidents, but more than a political statement I prefer to talk about the silence in the civil society and art. The artworks absorb the cynicism of this society, they are ironically based on the human drama found in images and words. – José Vincench

As an artist who lives, works, and raises his family in Cuba, José Vincench’s personal experience stems from a place where the fabric of free thought and expression is compromised. But seeing it through positive irony, the artist points the finger at this negative reality by creating works with hidden meanings embedded in deliberately smoothly executed and decorative gold abstractions. Vincench’s engaging creations provide an enticing combination of politicized practice, conceptual soundness and polished works of art.

In his geometrical abstractions, he applies a set of invented codes and characters to create a simplified alternate discourse and experience. In his action paintings, he references the defacement of dissidents’ homes by government enforcers (unreported in the controlled press) in a sheen of illuminating gold.

Images of strife are transformed into a shimmering landscape of gold abstraction. The depth of the dissident movement, with its suppression and injustices, is displayed in a vision that seeks an idealized sense of order.

A gold painting has its seductive allure in the metaphor of gold and vibrations of light, giving depth to the surface of the painting. In this group of José Vincench’s most recent Revolución series, the canvases, large, medium and small, create a world of opposites.

Against the use of rhetoric as a means of symbolic domination, criticism, or attempt to transform social reality by activism, José Vincench applies his own sets of characters, idioms and codes to freely deconstruct this reality in exquisite golden works of art.

This is José Vincench’s second exhibition at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel. One of his sculptures is currently showing at The Bronx Museum, “Wild Noise”, through July 3.

Vincench is a tenured professor at the graduate program of the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana. His works are in the collections of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Havana; Frost Museum, Miami; Rubin Foundation, New York; Perez Collection, Miami; UBS Art Collection, New York; Chris von Christierson Collection, London; Celia Birbragher Collection, Miami; CIFO Collection Miami, among other public and private collections worldwide. He is the recipient of the 2016 Art Nexus-EFG Bank prize.

Categories: Exhibitions Past