Line by Line
Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, New York City
March 03 - April 14, 2013
Stephan Stoyanov Gallery is pleased to present Line by Line a group show featuring the work of Amelie Chabannes, Jen Mazza and Brigitte NaHoN. This is the first time the three artists, all represented by the gallery, have been show together in the same exhibition. On first glance, their work demonstrates different aesthetic sensibilities (and they are quite visually diverse) however, upon closer inspection the viewer notices similarities in both the visual and conceptual nature of their output. Linking the three is an interest in concealment and revelation, chaos and control, the interpretation and function of line and an obsessive nature to their artistic production. This exhibition will concentrate on their use of line to explore both shared and disparate interests.
Line is a rich metaphor for the artist. It denotes not only boundary, edge or contour, but is an agent for location, energy, and growth. It is literally movement and change - life itself.
Historically, the idea of line is seen as "an identifiable path created by a point moving in space. It is one-dimensional and can vary in width, direction, and length. Lines often define the edges of a form. Lines can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, straight or curved, thick or thin. They lead your eye around the composition and can communicate information through their character and direction." The work of Chabannes, Mazza and NaHoN can certainly be viewed as part of this rich tradition, however, like many artists of the past few decades; they have subjected the accepted concept of line to a critical examination of idea and expanded its form. In her recent paintings Chabannes continues to explore "limitless notions of identity" through the use of the unconscious and automatic drawing technique (inspired by the Surrealist idea of the hand moving randomly, freed from rational control). However as she has "...engaged in deeper research on fewer specific aspects of our identity, I became profoundly drawn to extreme fusional relationships that exhaust the sense of individuality." Focusing on couples where this fusion has become subject matter for their work, Chabannes obsessively transfers graphite line over and over onto gessoed panel until the simple gesture becomes a chaotic, disjointed and almost decipherable mass of energy and tension where two become one. In this sense, Chabannes´s line obscures rather than illuminates. For Mazza, on first viewing, her line is quite literal, the reproduction of lines of text. However, in her small-scale, exquisitely rendered paintings Mazza, who has "always privileged written above visual language for its precision," paints within a realist tradition. "I enjoy the disjunction of resisting or thwarting literal expectations: my paintings always give back something other than that which would be offered by the object in person or its photographic likeness. What realism allows me to do is feign reality, to imply truths, and to lie." In this sense, Mazza´s line, like that of Chabannes, obscures and complicates rather than reveals. In her sculptures, NaHoN takes the line off the paper/canvas and pushes it into real space thus challenging its historical definition and turning the line into a physical object. Like the others, chaos plays a role, but for NaHoN, line is a metaphor for chaos becoming balance; trying to achieving equilibrium in an imperfect world. "Through my sculptures, I explore the bond between physical and spiritual constituents within our environment and between generations. I attempt to push the limits of knowledge and perception and express how solitude can become ethereal and even vanish when shared with others. My sculptures and drawings create a space for these considerations, through delicate use of line, color and balance."
For further information : www.stephanstoyanov.com
Gallery Iragui, Moscou
September 05 - October 06, 2012
Brigitte Nahon has been working on the concept of Balance in sculpture, paintings and drawings. She uses various media and scales with her own ‘geometric’ vocabulary, like sphere , cube, line.The exhibition is based on the feelings of the past and the present and on circumstances of daily balance and un-balance that we all experiment mentally. The show unites several series of works of the period 2005-2009.
The artworks from the series “Self-Portraits” (2007-2008) bring together seemingly disparate materials: mirror, glue, poster, canvas, and transform the artist´s self-portrait into every viewer’s self-portrait. Thus, multiplicity emerges from singular. Making allusions to “Black square” (1915) by Kasimir Malevitch and “Femme qui pleure” (1937) by Pablo Picasso, Nahon personal “Self-Portraits” distort lines of faces that we can see in her Sculptures/Paintings called “Lehaim haiah” (2005). The phrase Lehaim Haiah, meaning in Hebrew “Long Life Brigitte”, builds a relation to the artist’s Hebrew surname Hannah-Haiah.
At the same time the work “Tree Life” (2009) and her musical watercolors were influenced by improvisational dance of reality and un-real unconsciousness in reflection of surrounding space. We should admit that the works on paper provide an exploration ground for Brigitte’s sculptural work, the ground that is absolutely free from restrains of the material. So the artist try to explore paradoxical situations and discover possible balance within constant paradoxes. In her drawings we recognize the balls and threads known from her sculptures, or an organic gush of colors and lines that catch a suspended motion. Her intimate, poetic, magical and universal drawings become the obvious continuation of her sculpted artwork, pursuing her quest for a perfect balance.
Sources of diverse philosophies and popular psyche are shown in her paintings/sculptures, inks and watercolors. “It is a constant state of flux, flowing from what is today, tomorrow to what might be yesterday,” comments Brigitte on her works. “Given the fluid nature with which time is treated in and out of our mind to create unlimited space in different balances of ourselves”.
World Symbol Spaces
The Jewish Museum of New York City, New York
August 11 - October 07, 2012
In this exhibition, six post-1970 works from the Museum’s collection respond to mid-twentieth-century modernism. Each uses the language of abstraction – areas of pure color, geometric shapes, and gestural brushwork – and adds to it, incorporating words and symbols with specific personal, historical, and cultural meanings. Artists represented include William Anastasi, Ross Bleckner, Dana Frankfort, Alain Kirili, Brigitte NaHoN and Frank Stella.
In William Anastasi’s Untitled (Jew), 1987, the artist confronts the viewer with the single word jew, which he considers the most charged word in the English language, leaping from an otherwise monochrome canvas. For Anastasi, the word conjures both positive and negative associations: it evokes great modern intellectuals such as Freud, Schoenberg, Einstein, Kafka and Marx, as well as ideas that are defamatory, even violent.
The iconic Jewish emblem of the Star of David emerges from Ross Bleckner’s minimalist stripe painting and Dana Frankfort’s field of expressionistic color, both inspired by the highly aesthetic, abstract language of the Color Field painters of the 1950s, who experimented with saturated colors in large, open areas of pure paint. Bleckner’s Double Portrait (Gay Flag), 1993 becomes a metaphorical self-portrait, incorporating the rainbow colors of the gay pride flag and the Star of David to embody the artist’s sexual, ethnic, and artistic identities. Frankfort’s Star of David (Orange), 2007, stretches and distorts a familiar symbol so that its form is emphasized. Frankfort seeks a universal meaning in the six-pointed Jewish star: “I like the idea that a star can’t be original. It’s a symbol that anyone can draw and have.”
Alain Kirili’s Commandment II, 1980 reflects the artist’s fascination with both traditional biblical scripture and modernist, nonrepresentational art. The work’s seventeen sculptural elements are abstracted from the calligraphic Hebrew letters of the Torah and can be seen as symbols that can be variously assembled to create new meaning.
Frank Stella’s Dawidgródek III, 1971, from the Polish Village series is inspired by the architecturally whimsical wooden synagogues built in provincial Poland before the 20th century and destroyed during World War II. Stella transforms their bold, distinctive forms into brightly colored, abstract shapes and patterns, capturing their exuberant spirit and creating constructions that play between architecture and painting.
Brigitte NaHoN’s sculpture TIME ZERO, 2006, addresses opposites: balance and imbalance, solidity and fragility, heaviness and lightness, the temporary and the eternal. TIME ZERO was the first work made after the artist’s recovery from a serious illness. In the sculpture, life metaphorically hangs in the balance as wooden spokes and crystals cascade toward two reflective stainless steel panels on the floor.
Word Symbol Space has been organized by Karen Levitov, Associate Curator at The Jewish Museum.