February 20, 2021
Sometimes the original beckons for a sequel…Two years after the success of our group exhibition 10, we are pleased to follow up with 11, featuring eleven artists whose work we think scores a perfect ten. Spanning a variety of media—film, installation, painting, collage, drawing, mixed media, and photography—the artists and works presented share a sense of experimentation in exploring uncharted pictorial territory rooted in the personal. Some of the works engage with traditional forms of portraiture and representation, while others run through a grayer gamut of image-making, where memory, image, symbol, avatar, and iconography defy more exacting categorization.
The arena of direct portraiture in this exhibition lies with Mike Silva and Cheyenne Julien. Silva offers a shimmeringly naturalistic painting of his ex-lover Michael in a moment of contemplation; Julien’s new painting is a dynamic, funny glimpse at her subject’s emotions and colorful daily routine. Farah Al-Qasimi presents two photographs: one a portrait of a contestant in a Miss Muslimah Pageant, the other a self-portrait; both telling records of personal experience as a means to relate and relay that of her subject’s. Tabboo! gives us colorful pink and blue faces—a self-portrait interspersed among portraits of the cast of characters that populate the artist’s vivid New York community. November 26, 2020 includes a self-portrait of Rebecca Ness among many portraits from her personal life—a timely painting of last year’s Thanksgiving, spent at home on a Zoom call with her loved ones.
Jeff Sonhouse’s work belongs to that gray area. He pushes against traditional notions of portraiture, using incendiary materials (for the subject’s hair it is here, quite literally, burned matches) to create a mysterious masked figure that gazes daringly at the viewer, challenging us to question the history of representation. New drawings and mixed media works from Alvaro Barrington explore the intersection and interconnectedness of his own life and experiences with culture, sexuality, politics, and history. Ilana Harris-Babou uses two American icons we all remember, Dr. Sebi and Miss Cleo, to tackle the ramifications of fraud in the wellness industry in Long Con, a new film. Hein Koh’s bizarrely sexy broccoli character—painted, drawn, and sculpted into quotidian situations and scenarios—is an autobiographical avatar of sorts for the artist. The image of a jarring, searingly electric neon spider from Arthur Peña is an emotional childhood memory rendered in paint. And finally, Paul Anthony Smith’s new painting represents an artifact from his everyday life—the first layer composed of a closely cropped photograph of the outer fence of a park near his old studio, upon which he has painted lush layers of flora that live in, and also rebel against, their wire cage.
The exhibition will take place on the first and second floors of the gallery, and runs through February 20th.