The mindset that keeps many Manhattanites from venturing north of 96th Street in their pursuit of high culture, as well as the equally limiting ethnic insularity prevailing in many northern Manhattan neighborhoods, constitute exciting challenges prompting NURTUREart Non-Profit, Inc. to mount an exhibition of contemporary fine art in Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center’s ample Baldwin Gallery. The exhibition draws on the creativity of twenty-two emerging career artists whose names bespeak a wide diversity of origins, and whose work in a variety of mediums offers a taste of what is to be seen in the wider world of contemporary art.
More Than Meets the Eye
In its quest to broaden the cultural horizons of residents of Washington Heights, NURTUREart has allied with community organizations to reach residents unexposed to, or cynical about contemporary art. This will be accomplished through public programming punctuating the exhibition, including artist-guided tours for the layman in English and Spanish, as well as specialized enrichment events, such as slide-enhanced artists' talks and a panel discussion.
Take the 'A' Train
At this writing, plans include Collective Subway Ride, a performance piece by NURTUREart Registry Artists, Michele Beck and Jorge Calvo. This event extends the exhibition to the subway ride uptown to the opening reception, Saturday, March 10 (3-6 p.m.). That day, rain or shine, downtown art-lovers will gather around an identifiable NURTUREart representative at 2:15 p.m. in the front-of-the-train platform area of the uptown A train 14th Street and 8th Avenue station, meet and greet each other, and at 2:30 board a designated subway car en masse, to simultaneously witness and be an essential part of Collective Subway Ride.
Art Knows No Boundaries!
All works of art will be available for sale. They may be taken home, and will live wherever their collectors live.
The exhibition's theme is joy and its manifestations. The joy attending immersion in the creative process experienced by each of the exhibiting artists is manifest in their works of art, and palpable, as the exhibition’s title implies.
Through the mediums of video and photography, Michele Beck & Jorge Calvo's performances, such as From One To Two Too One, manifest the universal feeling of frustration with the struggle to communicate. Contradictory impulses, such as simultaneously wanting to be close and wanting to be separate, are examined in their work.
William Crow's painting installation, Index, explores indexical signs and the grammar of painting by creating phrases of modular, fragmented imagery on paper. Consistent with NURTUREart’s interest in accessibility, Crow's exercise may be appreciated by professional painter and layman alike.
Linda Ganjian is a sculptor who celebrates the Lilliputian. Her Golden Cities is a hot-glue fantasy world, inviting viewers to locate their own neighborhood in this bright and shining metropolis of metaphor.
Despite appearances, no contradiction exists between Sandra Bermudez's camera's probing eye, which piques our erotic interest as it challenges the saw, Seeing is believing, and C.J. Yeh’s wry, interactive digital installation, Don’t Look at Me Like That!, one of three digital windows virtually invisible in their clean-cut columns that appear to have grown through the floor.
Yoshiyuki Saito (nom d’art, Zen) strives to express how our routines and habitual ways of seeing the world conflict with the exploration of unknown possibilities and other ways to think. Employing a mundane, discarded material, he has created Glade, a large site-specific installation whose appearance is altered by the backlighting provided by the Baldwin Gallery’s floor-to-ceiling windows.
Lisa Collado's ascendance from homelessness and despair in a New York City shelter and her journey from Manhattan to an upstate New York refuge is chronicled in the mixed-media collage, a triptych, North Country Meditation, one of three pieces from this mature artist's considerable oeuvre.
In As, Gary Greir's skill as a figurative painter is manifest as are his Savannah roots; notwithstanding the fact that you are certain that you are in a gallery on the banks of the Hudson in Washington Heights, you can feel the warm Savannah sunset on your face and smell the fresh water as the evening breeze passes over the Savannah River. His Sacrifices, an homage to motherhood, and Red Label, his take on his alcoholism, are no less real.
Twin Skins, a pair of taxidermied chairs, enabled Kristy Knight to better understand vivid childhood memories of experiences with her backwoods Pennsylvanian mentors. Her sculpture affords urban viewers an opportunity to reach beyond routine, constructed experience to see unimagined possibilities inherent in familiar objects.
Inspired the contradictory states of breathless fear of falling and the desire to let go she experienced atop the precipices of Capri – and frustrated by the limits of her photographic equipment to convey that experience – Rebecca Landmer created Startling Moments, an installation whose form and images achieve her objective, as well as creating a beautiful example of both the limits and potential of the conventional camera
Considered by aficionados to be the patriarch of living Haitian-American painters, Emmanuel Merisier’s work contributes a unique and compelling aesthetic to this exhibition. His Still Life With Red Flowers is an exemplar; in Merisier’s world, living things exude their essence in many guises. Merisier's work will frustrate stereotypes of Haitian art.
The inspiration for Bedded, Aram Jibilian's large composite photograph, began with the artist’s realization the we are all fragmented subjects existing under the guise of wholeness. He achieves rich color and nuance.
In the paintings Platanero and Pinera, the Dominican immigrant Ramon Peralta draws on the spirituality and symbolism of his Caribbean roots, and the tradition of the Mexican muralists. Intense political sentiment is palpable in this work.
Keiko Miyamori's site specific installation, Imagine - Here and There, is a product of her own experience in a hospital -- one she will only agree to describe through her art. Miyamori’s use of a Frottage technique, charcoal tree trunk rubbings on Japanese washi paper, is emblematic of her sculpture and installation. She believes that what is transferred from object to paper is the very soul of natural beauty. Whereas most exhibitions fix our gaze at eye level, this installation encourages us to look up.
Like a great novelist, Mark Milroy painstakingly builds mood and the unique character of his subjects, This rich description results from the artist's keen understanding of the language of color and his luxuriant impasto. In his attempt to discover, and then capture what he perceives to be the essence of a subject at a particular moment, I rely on my heart and hand, rather than my eyes.
Mark Planisek's Beholding Gesture is the culmination piece of a smaller body of
work that originated with a photograph of a young girl. As in much of his work, Planisek started with a black and white photograph, enlarged it and collaged the enlarged sectional pieces, finally hand painting using photographic oils, acrylics, enamels, oil pastels and graphite.
Jack Pospisil's sculptures did not fall to the floor, they chose to be there! Forces beyond their control, albeit intrinsic to their nature, determined their fate. Struck by a potent paradox, Pospisil created Stolen Limb, a tuber-like object that at first brush appears to be clad in chain mail or antediluvian reptilian scales. With its mantle of Guatemalan coins, this unusual sculpture makes an elegant statement about the history of colonialism.
Known for his ability to capture the expressiveness of the figure in motion, Derrick Webster depicts mentor-inspired African-American youths’ successful resistance against personal disintegration and the forces of despair in his comic-book style paintings from the semi-autobiographical series, Word! Each page from this series in progress may stand alone, and visitors to this exhibition will encounter three representative pages.
Maria Llano lives in an unheated artists' studio in the Bronx, but in her artistic expression it is clear that she has not left her native rural Colombia. Her sources of inspiration include contemporary and ancestral Colombian culture. Llano's organic textile wall-hung sculptures speak of the agrarian's bond with the soil and his rich spiritual life, which this artist reveals through expressive spirit-masks. To Llano, the mask keeps alive the primitive, untainted soul of the human being, and represents humanity’s roots. Guardian Of The Corn is one of three homage pieces exhibited.