Sunday, August 9, 2015

Brooklyn in Westchester this Summer, through August 21st

Steven Hirsch, Doris, 2014
digital O print on dibond, 24" x 36"

Diana Buckley, Assistant Director at Madelyn Jordon Fine Art in Scarsdale, has brought Brooklyn to Westchester in a beautiful show that celebrates the establishment of Brooklyn as more than a borough - and  more than a brand. Brooklyn is a state of mind ("a New York state of mind," Billy Joel might say) that fosters becoming one with the art of one's making.

Buckley explains:
"The exhibit title, I am What I am Not Yet, is inspired by a quote of the late philosopher of aesthetics, Maxine Greene.  Greene believed that artworks we encounter are 'situated encounters', meaning, an audience of a given artwork apprehends that work in the light of their backgrounds, biographies, and experiences.  In I am What I am Not Yet, 22 Brooklyn based artists have each experienced Brooklyn through their own unique lens, and try to relate their own 'situated encounters' in a way that, in aggregate, conveys a multi-faceted interpretation of Brooklyn."
Above, Steven Hirsch's Doris, comes from his Gowanus series, photographs of this well-known toxic canal. Describing how he became involved with photographing the waters, he said:“It was mesmerizing– and when the tide would start to come in and the water would move– it would create a kaleidoscope, an explosion of colors, shapes and designs. Its intensity is mind-boggling, and I tried to capture that in the images I made.” (Doris means "gift" and in Greek mythology, she is the daughter of Oceanus, mother of the Nereids.)

Sun You, Untitled 2, 2015
found objects, 1" x 1"

Sun You's found objects belong in tiny universes of wonder.  Here she tangibly captures Brooklyn as a repository of the ordinary moments that can burst into creative miracles. Moreover, she understands Brooklyn as a playful environment - pulsating with innovation, energy and daring. Brooklyn's residents have synthesized their rich diversity into an exquisite integral whole - precious and appealing in its own distinctive way.  We find this delicious complexity in Sun You's delicate assemblages.  Sun You was born in Korea and completed her BFA and MFA in Detroit.

Xiao Fu, Cross, 2014
Steel, 7.5" x 17.5" x 9"

Xiao Fu's sculpture, Cross, introduces an artist whose elegance matches her precision and skill.   Born in China, she completed her undergraduate studies in her hometown Shenyang and her MFA at San Francisco's Academy of Art University in 2014. Her migration from China to the US has brought enormous changes to her mind and the direction of her art, freeing her to explore the human spirit beyond the restrictions imposed the Chinese government.  She wrote: "I know that I don’t have the power to change the world, but I do hope that people can look at the world beyond the surface after seeing my art." 

Deborah Brown, Green Hat, 2015
oil on canvas, 36" x 36"

Deborah Brown is a name I have know for years and was delighted to see her latest work in such a lively context - it affirms her characteristic verve which has made her work so memorable.  Here, Green Hat, seems to riff on Vermeer's Girl in Red Hat (in the National Gallery in DC), as we know Brown appropriates the Old Masters with her own brand of whimsy. Is this Brooklyn humor?  Maybe - or just plain NY chutzpah.  Explosions of pink surrounding a tangle of zesty greens has just the right amount of moxey for an artist who has always been a 

Willie Wayne Smith,  Things to Bury, 2013
airbrush on canvas, 40" x 50"

The well-chosen variety of media ably demonstrates the range of creative work developing among these artists of all ages.  Willie Wayne Smith alone offers several media to choose from.  For this exhibition, Buckley selected a surreal paintings that reflects the biomorphic shapes we might find in his sculptures and installations.  Smith received his BFA from Maryland Institute of Art and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan.

There are 23 artists in allNichole van Beek, Christian Berman, Erik den Breejen, Deborah Brown, Maria Louisa Calandra, Jaqueline Cedar, Austin Eddy, Charlotte Evans,Matthew F. Fisher, Xiao Fu, Charlotte Hallberg, Steven Hirsch, Benjamin King, Osamu Kobayashi, Lauren Luloff, Katherine Newbegin, Gary   Petersen, Sarah Peters, Willie Wayne Smith, Letha Wilson, Birgit Wolfram, and Sun You    An excellent sampling of the vast amount of art found in Brooklyn studios these days.

Bravo, Diane Buckley!  Thank you for taking on this challenge and delivering the goods to the initiated and the newbies whom - we hope- will discover the bounty of Brooklyn in situ during the coming 2015-16 season.   Subscribe to Brooklyn Rail to keep abreast of events.

Viva la Brooklyn - 
Beth New York

aka Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
New York Arts Exchange

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