Jaroslava Prihodova’s Measured Confluence

Interview of the Artist by D. Dominick Lombardi

Raised in Velký Šenov, in the Bohemia section of the Czech Republic, and currently living in Cortland, New York, Jaroslava Prihodova’s life has truly been a tale of two cities. Growing up in a Communist state, with her parents, an aunt and uncle and her grandparents, Prihodova has largely happy memories of those early days. The bucolic setting of her childhood home, that was situated next to a fruit orchard and a vegetable garden, and where chickens and rabbits were raised, the young Prihodova saw life as wholly sustainable and quite secure. On the other hand, there was always that overriding system of order and intolerance for the West imposed by the totalitarian regime that brought change and inspiration to her thinking later in life.

 Jaroslava Prihodova, Critical Error series (2016), eggshell, copper, 4 ½ x 1 ¾ x 2 ¼  inches (photo: courtesy of the artist)
Jaroslava Prihodova, Critical Error series (2016), eggshell, copper, 4 ½ x 1 ¾ x 2 ¼  inches (photo: courtesy of the artist)

Her art today, can be seen as a compelling and curious blend of what is considered to be the unfortunate divide between fine art and functional design. At times, Prihodova also employs humor while challenging her viewers to think creatively, with the desire to expand preconceived notions of the separation of form and function. I recently had the opportunity to ask her a few questions that I hope will shed light on her complex, and very pure vision about the marriage of art and design.

DDL: Having never lived further than 25 miles from my birthplace in the Bronx, NY, it is hard for me to imagine the personal mental and physical upheaval that would follow a move from Central Europe to upstate New York. Even given the fact that you have considerably more freedom in the US, and having left a country that has Soviet oversight, there is still a lot of reorienting to consider, let alone a language barrier. In reading about your past history in the Czech Republic, you feature quite a few reminiscences of past experiences that helped mold the artist you are today. Was it the Velvet Revolution of 1989 that effected you most, or is it some far less dramatic universal change? Or maybe, was it something far more personal such as the time spent with your grandmother, who really seemed to be the matriarch of the family.

Jaroslava Prihodova, Objects series (2015), concrete, plastic, 11 ½ x 12 x 7 ½ inches (photo: courtesy of the artist)
Jaroslava Prihodova, Objects series (2015), concrete, plastic, 11 ½ x 12 x 7 ½ inches (photo: courtesy of the artist)

JP: Yes, it was a culmination of factors and realities that impacted the angle from which I view the world. As you alluded, my life took an unexpected trajectory when I moved to the Unlined States. In 2002, I was a freshly minted graduate from the Studio of Natural Materials at the School of Art and Design in Usti nad Labem, the Northern part of Czechia. I left everything behind to be with my partner, an American artist I met during my short residency in 2000. After I arrived, I welcomed a period filled with productivity and artistic growth. At the same time, it was a long stretch that was underlined by feelings of displacement and a sense of disillusion. As I spent more time here, a physical and mental distance from my motherland afforded me the ability to evaluate my roots and influences with a certain objectivity. It became more apparent that in contrast to the culture I was trying to understand and adapt to the way I was brought up had everything to do with the way I process my ideas, approach to materials, art in general and also life.

I was in the seventh grade when the Velvet Revolution broke out. Even as a teenager, I understood that the situation was charged with an historical significance and would shape the future in a completely new way. The urgency and the weight of events that followed are permanently embedded in my memory. As one ages, the gift of time passed allows seeing reality (transformed in history), in a broader context, personal as well as cultural. When I see footage from the revolution, I am instantly taken back in time. It is an emotional event. It is curious that I feel similar when I come across documents from an earlier time when I was not even born. I once read that trauma or intense emotional experiences are passed on genetically from our ancestors to new generations. I often think that the human body retains memory and associations, almost like other materials such as paper or metal, that the aftermath, the evidence of distress, is always present. For instance, I recall my reaction visiting the Josef Koudelka retrospective at Getty a few years back (Nationality Doubtful, 2014-15). His political images adjacent to photographs from his series from Slovakia and other included series caused me to hold back tears. I had to leave the gallery several times to compose myself. Although I was not even born at the time these images were circling the world, I left undeniably connected to the content, and I felt like I shared this visceral moment with my parents who were young adults at the time the 1968 Soviet occupation occurred.  

I hold fond memories of my childhood, my home, and the village where I grew up. As I mentioned, my experiences as a child, my interactions with my parents, and my sister, who are all remarkably creative people and my relationship with my grandmother, imprinted sets of templates through which I view my surroundings. 

DDL: It is amazing, how as you can sense that: “…trauma or intense emotional experiences are passed on genetically from our ancestors to new generations.” I believe this, too, as I accept the theory of the Collective Unconscious. 

Jaroslava Prihodova, Vase (2010), glass, cork, 5 ¾ x 6 x 10 inches (photo: courtesy of the artist)
Jaroslava Prihodova, Vase (2010), glass, cork, 5 ¾ x 6 x 10 inches (photo: courtesy of the artist)

In looking at your Dislocation series of 2016, I see a very palpable visual weight coming across. You mention on your website “the expulsion of the German population from Sudetenland after World War II,” and how the ensuing vacancies of the homes must have affected your grandfather Ladislav upon his return in 1946. That history very definitely haunts the Dislocation series. Then I look at your Vase from 2010, the Planes and Table Light of 2015, and your design sense applied to the Vklad Series, a ring created in 2012, and I see so many contrasting elements, yet they all somehow relate. Perhaps it is the directness you take to the narrative or the forwardness of the function, mentally and physically, that ties everything together. As Federico Fellini is quoted as saying: “All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” On the other hand, one can also be of many minds. Which is most true for you?

Jaroslava Prihodova, Table Light (2015), pine, glass, plastic, 12 x 6 x 20 ¾ inches  (photo: courtesy of the artist)
Jaroslava Prihodova, Table Light (2015), pine, glass, plastic, 12 x 6 x 20 ¾ inches  (photo: courtesy of the artist)

JP: My practice as an artist evolved from mostly formal considerations (aesthetics, use of materials, execution, scale, function, etc.) into a field of deeply personal themes solidified out of the pulp of memories and experiences in the framework of historical amnesia. With the Dislocation series, I let my work break free from obligatory principals and self-inflicted rules, allowing ideas to expand into a contextual narrative. This project is a personal attempt to come to terms with a troubled historical event, with consequences imprinted onto my family legacy. The work challenges the notion of a forgotten collective past, an unresolved political conflict filtered through my experience as someone who is permanently yet voluntarily dislocated from my homeland. Upon reflection, it is also important to acknowledge that the series was conceived here, on stolen land, in a place where I settled. So, how do we resolve the inner conflict with history? Is it possible to surrender to reconciliation instead of letting one be hindered by the burden of tragedy? I believe one can start with an acknowledgment.  

Jaroslava Prihodova, Dislocation (2016), concrete, porcelain, glass, wood, silver-plated brass, silver-plated nickel, sterling silver, steel and cotton, variable size (photo: courtesy of the artist)
Jaroslava Prihodova, Dislocation (2016), concrete, porcelain, glass, wood, silver-plated brass, silver-plated nickel, sterling silver, steel and cotton, variable size (photo: courtesy of the artist)

I often try to imagine what it was like, starting life over in a new place and physically rewriting history. It is difficult to imagine what my grandfather must have felt when he arrived at this unfamiliar site, and moved into a home that was formerly occupied by a German family, filled with personal artifacts that only echoed a vibrant life. I never had a chance to speak to him about his experience since he died long before I was born. I can only speculate, but my instinct tells me that the prevailing sentiment centered on responsibility for his family. However, I think the place where everything was lost for the family that abruptly departed his home prior to his arrival left a lasting impression.

You mentioned the other side of my practice. I don’t divert from my work methods too much when I produce objects with utility. Design has always been an interest. I studied the design of lighting for four years, and I adopted some of the principles of art in general. Both art and design are rooted primarily in communication. I was fortunate to study in institutions that were largely built on the legacy and philosophy of modernism. Bauhaus’s educational principals were undeniably present in my schooling. Although there are some apparent differences between art and design, I’d like to consider them as twins. One of my favorite designers is Dieter Rams. His ten commandments for good design can apply to both aspects of creative practice. In my opinion, one cannot exist without the other, as Bruno Murani said in his book, Design as Art, “The designer is therefore the artist of today, not because he is a genius but because he works in such a way as to reestablish contact between art and the public, because he has the humility and ability to respond to whatever demand is made of him by the society in which he lives, because he knows his job and the ways and means of solving each problem of design. And finally, because he responds to the human needs of his time, and helps people to solve certain problems without stylistic preconceptions or false notions of artistic dignity derived from the schism of the arts.”  

Jaroslava Prihodova, Fold (2010), laser-cut stainless steel, ¾ x 1 ¼ x ½ inches (photo: courtesy of the artist)
Jaroslava Prihodova, Fold (2010), laser-cut stainless steel, ¾ x 1 ¼ x ½ inches (photo: courtesy of the artist)

My ultimate objective is the simplicity of form and function while employing the least amount of materials and manipulation. I believe that it is quite a challenging task in both art and design. A good example is a laser-cut stainless steel ring titled Fold (2010). Inspired by origami, the approach illustrates how to utilize material with minimum waste, transform a flat surface, introduce volume, tension, intentionality, and the perception of size and scale.  

DDL: The creativity you show as a curator is as profound as your own artwork. At this time we are speaking, you have Measured Confluence on display at the Dowd Gallery at SUNY Cortland. As the curator of this exhibition, it is your desire to show how art influences science and science influences art – and where they meet is the purity of design, as function and form coalesce. I imagine this show has been a great experience for the artists and the students to share. 

First, what inspires your curatorial process, and finally, what is most important for you to project in all of your professional practices? 

JP: I consider curating as another facet of my practice. It is an opportunity to think about art outside of my work, and to be creative in a specific way that does not involve my personal approach to making art. I am fascinated with the process of finding connections in places where they might not be evident to others. Vladimir Nabokov wrote, “There is no science without fancy and no art without facts.” My primary focus is to develop impactful exhibitions that reflect and honor the diversity of thoughts, art concepts, and the people who create them. My objective is to bridge art with other disciplines to provide a broader context for our students and visitors. I want to illustrate that visual art is not an intimidating indulgence that exists in isolation, while linking it to various fields of science and humanities, as I believe that art transcends the ability to communicate disparate ideas across many areas of study. Therefore, the challenge for me is to present programs that are relevant not only to our school but also to our local cultural community and still deepen the intellectual engagement through object-based learning that fosters an appreciation for art and its cultural importance in general. We are a small gallery in a teaching institution, which allows us to be flexible with artists we bring to campus but also with collaborations with faculty members from other departments, schools, and institutions. 

Robert Vlasak, Artifact/Naturfact, 2020, varialble size, Dowd Gallery, SUNY Cortland, NY (Image: Robert Vlasak)
Exhibition view, Robert Vlasak, Artifact/Naturfact, 2020, varialble size, Dowd Gallery, SUNY Cortland, NY (Image: Robert Vlasak)

Mounting an exhibition is a big job that requires many details to align in a harmonious outcome both conceptionally and visually. That is where both the purpose and purity of design are most visible. The design of the show is something I take very seriously. That is the moment when everything comes together and where artworks live in a conversation with one another. It seems I push against prevailing trends in exhibition design. I prefer a minimal presentation where the work has a place to tell a story. In that aspect, I am a traditionalist. 

As someone who navigates both sides of visual arts – producing and presenting artwork, I strive to propose ideas and forms that might not be obvious on a first glance but somehow reveal themselves in small increments equal to time invested. The reward and impact are always difficult to assess, because all of the artistic aspirations are process-oriented, unfolding over time, and rely on intellectual inquiry. In both practices, I try to emphasize innovation, interdisciplinary investigation, and uvailing exposure to cultural inclusion in the world that is continuously in flux.  

Jaroslava Prihodova 9: Untitled (2019), Bronze, porcelain, stainless steel, 6 x 4 ¼ x 3 ¼ inches.
Jaroslava Prihodova 9: Untitled (2019), Bronze, porcelain, stainless steel, 6 x 4 ¼ x 3 ¼ inches.

DDL:  In a time of Covid, with shows being cancelled or rescheduled, lives and businesses being turned upside down, and the general way of doing things drastically changing for the foreseeable future – how have your gallery and studio practices changed?

JP: When we started this interview many months ago, we did not anticipate that the world, not only the physical world but the field of art, could change in a matter of weeks. It is remarkable how much we need to prepare for, adjust, and adapt to. For our gallery, in light of the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, it is extremely difficult to proceed with planned shows, and frankly, justify the financial commitment when there is a good chance that the gallery will be closed on a day’s notice. I think it’s a common problem that many galleries and museums are facing right now. I started to utilize a lot of technology to bring our visitors closer to the art we present. I believe that spatial context is still important. That is why I like to continue to install work in the gallery and employ digital tools to substitute for a lack of accessibility. It is interesting to think about new ways to consume and interact with art. We need to establish new modes of interaction between the viewer and the artwork. I see it as a challenge. If I have to predict what will occur, we might reevaluate our relationship with the immediate. Because most of us were forced to work from home for months, we faced the reality of where and how we live. I hope that this fact will emphasize more, how we live and what we surround ourselves with. This shift has the potential to offer a real platform for artists, designers, and architects to improve our living conditions and reevaluate that relationship to art.  I find it fascinating and disturbing at the same time. 

As for my personal practice, nothing has changed. I proceed with the way I have worked in the past. After all, art production can be a solitary activity that dictates isolation to some degree. In a way, this situation is ideal for artists and creators. The question is how to bring results and outcomes to the audience effectively. Certainly, we have entered a transformative period for the arts.  

For more information about Jaroslava Prihodova’s curatorial project Measured Confluence, follow the link below.


For more information about Jaroslava Prihodova’s studio practices go to:  https://www.jaroslavaprihodova.com/

When Less Replaces Interconnection and Our New York

by Steve Rockwell

Fall 2010 edition of dArt page 42
Fall 2010 edition of dArt page 42

Our August 2020 banner image is the second in the series of “found” dArt magazine layouts, this one featuring images from the Fall 2010 edition. Yibin Tian’s photo of the Statue of Liberty was part of the Thalia Vrachopoulos article titled Our New York, covering an exhibition at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York. Appeaing on page 42, it is being displayed on the website banner as ghosting through behind a page 41 image of the David Bolduc painting, Near Sintra Early Spring. Bolduc passed away from brain cancer April 8, 2010, but had “surprised us all with a final burst of joyful elegant spirit in a crowing artistic achievement,” Sheila Mudrick noted in her dArt magazine tribute, David Bolduc: A Remembrance.

Fall 2010 dArt magazine page 41 with David Bolduc Near Sintra Early Spring painting.
Fall 2010 dArt magazine page 41 with David Bolduc Near Sintra Early Spring painting.
Fall 2010 dArt magazine’s second Table of Contents page.

Admittedly, my article header When Less Replaces Interconnection and Our New York, is a tad enigmatic. The first part was copped from Edward Rubin’s article, When Less Replaces Mess, a review of the 2010 Whitney Biennial. An interview with Peter Halley by Karlyn De Jongh yielded “interconnection,” from her Interconnection and Isolation article, and Our New York, as already stated, was courtesy Yibin Tian. Kelly Nipper’s Weather Center, 2009 was part of the 2010 Whitney Biennial, a black and white video projection, that featured dancer Taisha Paggett with costumes by Leah Piehl.

Fall 2010 dArt magazine’s firstTable of Contents page.

When Night Falls – Making Embodied Cognition Sublime

by Siba Kumar Das

When Night Falls, installation view detail, Lichtundfire, 2020
When Night Falls, installation view detail, Lichtundfire, 2020

Exhibiting artists: Gretl Bauer, Vian Borchert, Jane Fire, Leslie Ford, Augustus Goertz, Bobbie Moline-Kramer, Robert Solomon, Lenora Rosenfield, Arlene Santana, and Martin Weinstein.

Referencing the Covid-19 pandemic, fiction writer, editor and educator Lisa Lynn Biggar recently said in Critical Read, “Science will find a cure, but art will give us a healing path to follow.” To see how, go to Manhattan’s Lower East Side and visit the Lichtundfire gallery’s sublime show When Night Falls

The show’s curators – Priska Juschka (Lichtundfire) and Robert Curcio (curcioprojects) – have brought together paintings and multi-media works by ten artists from across the U.S. and Brazil. The majority of the art works have been expressly made for the show (July 15-August 8, 2020), in response to a call by the curators to contribute art addressing the awe and wonder that nighttime has long evoked. 

Awe and wonder are primordial, universal emotions that have driven the human pursuit of knowledge, including the embodied cognition of which art is a manifestation. Progenitors of paradigm shifts in science and other human thinking, they are more necessary than ever at times of crisis, such as the present juncture when the world faces simultaneously two existential challenges – climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic – as well as other serious problems. When Night Falls is a most timely exhibit. Through allusiveness, symbolism and ambiguity, the art works on display open up feelings and thinking that unveil new vistas, sometimes unending, sometimes giving glimpses of the unknown or of new possibility, even as they eschew mere instrumentality. They induce in the viewer a profound engagement. 

Indeed, they make me think of the art of Gerhard Richter, which the Met Breuer recently celebrated. I think especially of his late squeegee abstractions. Reviewing the Met show, art historian Susan Tallman spoke of Richter’s art as “an assertion of endless possibility.” I wonder if this insight doesn’t apply to all good art. The paintings of Arlene Santana, Leslie Ford and Vian Borchert suggest worlds beyond themselves, creating as well a feeling of fathomless depth. The resulting psychological and spiritual resonance is akin to an imaginative experience that is at once expansive, boundless and oceanic. Look now at the same paintings in conjunction with Martin Weinstein’s composite paintings that suggest the interplay of perception and memory through painted layers of transparent acrylic sheet. Time now grows inside you, giving your engagement with the four painters’ works the presence of four dimensions. 

Martin Weistein, Peonies and Moonlight, 2020, acrylic pigment on acrylic panels, 11.5 x 14.5 x 5 inches
Martin Weistein, Peonies and Moonlight, 2020, acrylic pigment on acrylic panels, 11.5 x 14.5 x 5 inches
Robert Solomon, Night/country road blue moon, 2019,acrylic, acrylic ink, flashe and felt on canvas, 48x30 inches
Robert Solomon, Night/country road blue moon, 2019,acrylic, acrylic ink, flashe and felt on canvas, 48×30 inches

Two paintings by Robert Solomon sourced from journeying at night on a country road synthesize a serene expansiveness with dread and foreboding even as they bring together broad sweeps of abstraction with glimpses of figuration. The resulting symbolic content creates the very sinews of the aesthetic sublime. The sublime is also in action in Gretl Bauer’s works. Her multi-media object employing paper, thread and gouache with great evocativeness is especially striking, for it suggests light struggling to emerge from darkness. A worthy coda to this discussion is Jane Fire’s digital print literally and metaphorically illuminating a dark rose that NASA grew in 1998 on a space shuttle mission. 

Gretl Bauer_Violet; paper, thread and gouache; 30x19 inches
Gretl Bauer, Violet; paper, thread and gouache; 30×19 inches
Jane Fire, First Rose Grown In Outer Space, 2020, digital archival print mounted on ChromaLuxe Matt
Jane Fire, First Rose Grown In Outer Space, 2020, digital archival print mounted on Chroma Luxe Matt
Augustus Goertz, Folded Universe #3, 2020, mixed media on canvas, 32 x24 inches
Augustus Goertz, Folded Universe #3, 2020, mixed media on canvas, 32 x24 inches

Augustus Goertz’s three mixed-media paintings make you think of the Cosmic Microwave Background, the landmark sign of the Big Bang with which the universe originated 13.8 billion years ago. So sublime was Mt. Blanc to Percy Bysshe Shelley he was moved to write a great Romantic poem in its praise. Goertz seems to be following in his footsteps, inspired by a much vaster cosmic creation, the source of it all in fact. Bobbie-Moline Kramer is also a cosmic artist, imagining, in two paintings, the alignment of the stars at her birth and death. Brazilian artist Lenora Rosenfield looks at the stars through a glass ceiling in her studio, and the two paintings she has contributed to the show are products of her deep gazing. Her deep blue sky is so striking it reverberates in your mind; setting it off from her white stars and the blue-black of her felt backing, she achieves sublimity through the color itself. 

Lenora Rosenfield, Night 1, 2020, fresco and egg tempera on fabric, 35 inch diameter.
Lenora Rosenfield, Night 1, 2020, fresco and egg tempera on fabric, 35 inch diameter.

The frontiers of paint’s possibilities are still being pushed from within painting’s domain. One might even say that a reinvention of the aesthetic sublime is under way. “When Night Falls” is on that cutting edge. 

About the Artists courtesy Lichtundfire:

Gretl Bauer’s sculpted paper works combined with wash, thread, and wood, explore the possibilities of evoking whatever light might be coaxed from within that darkness. 

Vian Borchert, Night Approaching, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24″

The bold gestural strokes barely contained within Vian Borchert’s paintings dramatically seize upon that instant when the day’s blue skies fall to the coming night.

Jane Fire’s digital print represents a unique dark rose that was grown by NASA in the night of space and sponsored by a perfume company to capture its fragrance.  

Leslie Ford_On Pause #9
Leslie Ford, On Pause #9, 2020, Oil Pigment Stick on Panel, 12″ x 12″

Off at a distant, a red horizon bisects Leslie Ford’s series of paintings entitled “On Pause” metaphorically reflecting upon that fall from day to night and regular life to paused life where clarity comes from reflection or reverie.  

A starry studded sky or a view into the sparkling void of the universe, Augustus Goertz’s mixed media paintings combine process and imagination, improvisation and experimentation and the infinite with the eternal.  

Bobbie Moline-Kramer, 11-04-1946, Fort Madison, Iowa, Self-Portrait, 2020. blown graphite dust, oil and metallic acrylic on handmade Japanese paper on wood. 18 x24 inches
Bobbie Moline-Kramer, 11-04-1946, Fort Madison, Iowa, Self-Portrait, 2020, blown graphite dust, oil and metallic acrylic on handmade Japanese paper on wood. 18 x24 inches

One of Bobbie Moline-Kramer’s abstract paintings on paper is a detailed record of the constellations at the date, time and location of her birth, while her other piece with a rendering of a closed eye she imagines how the stars will align at the moment of her death. 

Oscillating between the organic and geometric, Robert Solomon’s abstract pastoral paintings takes us on a nighttime drive down an old country road filled with beauty, however, there’s apprehension in his paintings – you just don’t know what’s beyond the bend or is something jumping out in front of the car.  

Lenora Rosenfield’s circular paintings created specifically for this exhibit are of the stars she stares at through a large glass ceiling in her studio while thinking of Ptolemy who amongst other things was an astronomer that has greatly influenced her painting while at the same time contemplating her quarantine in Brazil. 

Arlene Santana, Untitled, 2020, oil and was on wood panel, 20x20 inches
Arlene Santana, Untitled, 2020, oil and was on wood panel, 20 x 20 inches

The in-studio process of Arlene Santana’s abstract minimal paintings interprets a sense of the impending night at that unknown hour.

Martin Weinstein paints directly onto multiple acrylic panels in plein air from dusk to daylight, observing the same scene over a period of time. By layering these panels in a Plexiglass box structure, he constructs a complete painting that depicts the passage of when night falls. 

For more information and images please contact: Priska Juschka at 917.675.7835, info@lichtundfire.com or Robert Curcio at 646.220.2557, curcioprojects@gmail.com

Lichtundfire is located at 175 Rivington Street, NY, NY 10002. Contact: Priska Juschka, info@lichtundfire.com, Tel 917.675.7835 Summer Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12 – 6pm and by appointment. www.lichtundfire.com

Exhibition Dates: July 15 – August 8, 2020. Outdoor Reception with Exhibit Viewing: Wednesday, July 15, 5 – 8pm.  Appointments and Walk-Ins must wear a mask and must adhere to NY State Social Distancing Guidelines.

A Cosmopolitan Reconnaissance

by Steve Rockwell

The title of this piece refers to articles published in the Winter 2001 edition of dArt. The “cosmopolitan” women depicted in the dArt site banner were part of the print layout as they appeared on page 44 of its print edition. Ghosting through from its page 43 verso is an image of Richard Klein’s 1998 sculpture, In Vitro, fabricated from used eyeglasses, steel, and solder. These make up the left hand side of a saddle stitched folio, as they say in publishing parlance. The right hand side is numbered 22, and consist of an image of Bridget Riley’s 1966 emulsion on canvas, Breathe. It was part of a show at DIA Centre for the Arts and was reviewed for dArt by Jeanne C. Wilkinson under the title Reconnaissance. The Breathe image ghosted through here onto from its page 21 verso over a photo of Damien Hirst as a pharmacist.

Four writers covering four shows contributed inadvertently to the banner image as a unity as it appears here. It’s an accident of layout design, as the articles were entirely unrelated, being essentially guests showing up at the same party by chance. The two women in question appeared in videos produced by Lifetime Partners, a marriage agency based in California. Tapes of these hopeful Russian brides were acquired by British artists David Cross and Matthew Cornford, who presented them as part of the Cosmopolitan exhibition at Nikolai Fine Art in New York, where I had a chance to speak with them.

Winter 2001 dArt International cover featuring Damian First as a pharmacist
Winter 2001 dArt International cover featuring Damian Hirst as a pharmacist

Los Angeles contributor Clayton Campbell concluded his review of Damian Hirst’s Gagosian exhibit with these lines, “For one night this October, the centre of the art universe was at 24th Street and 11th Avenue in New York. Bravo, Mr. Hirst.” In Jeanne Wilkinson’s review of the Bridget Riley exhibition at DIA, a relevant quote might be, “They refer to nothing but themselves, and take us nowhere except into the discomforting shimmer of the eternal present.” And here we are, of course, eleven years later, shimmering in the present, discomfortable as this might be.

Bridget Riley, Breathe, 1966, emulsion on canvas, 117 x 82"
Bridget Riley, Breathe, 1966, emulsion on canvas, 117 x 82″

The Dominique Nahas piece on Richard Klein was titled Visibility Framed, with its representative image tagged as In Vitro. The naming of both are curiously descriptive in precise ways. Seeing is something that occurs within and without, or as the Latin describes it, in vivo and in vitro, both inside the living organism and its outside, something Klein had succeeded in “framing.” Nahas describes the work as being about vision and visionary, where eyeglass frames are shaped to resemble a winged apparition, the reflection of the sun passing through the plastic lenses to create a diaphanous sieve-play of light and shadow against the wall.

Richard Klein, In Vitro, 1998, used eyeglasses, steel, solder, 9 x 64, 14-1/2"
Richard Klein, In Vitro, 1998, used eyeglasses, steel, solder, 9 x 64, 14-1/2″

The Remains of the Day: Sarah Sze and her Images in Debris

by Emese Krunák-Hajagos

Sarah Sze, Images in Debris, 2018, MOCA Toronto.
Sarah Sze, Images in Debris, 2018, MOCA Toronto. Courtesy the artist, Victoria Miro Gallery, London and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (New York and Los Angeles). Photo Toni Hafkenscheid

Entering the back room of the 2nd floor at MOCA from the brightly lit exhibition of Carlos Bunga’s A Sudden Beginning with its network of boxes, the darkness envelops us, a darkness that blinds. Is what we see real or just a mirage that gives the illusion of an installation? The eye and the mind both have to adjust to the magic world of Sarah Sze’s work, a universe in itself.

Continue reading “The Remains of the Day: Sarah Sze and her Images in Debris”

Melanie Vote’s The Washhouse: Nothing Ever Happened Here

by John Mendelsohn

Melanie Vote, Washhouse Interior, on site, 2019, oil on paper on wood, 9” x 12”

In this time of the pandemic, we resort to the virtual in order to connect. This applies to art, so I will be writing about an exhibition that I have seen only through digital images. The analogue experience of painting seems all the dearer as we experience it once removed.

Continue reading “Melanie Vote’s The Washhouse: Nothing Ever Happened Here”

Frank Holliday’s SEE/SAW at Mucciaccia Gallery in NYC

by Christopher Hart Chambers

Frank Holliday, SEE/SAW installation view
Frank Holliday, SEE/SAW installation view

In his essay for the catalog of this exhibition, the curator, legendary critic Carter Ratcliff states, “If the painting is non-figurative it does not, by definition, show us any figures and yet it faces us with a human presence.” That is perhaps the most succinct and accurate insight regarding the intrinsic nature of abstract art I have yet come across.

Continue reading “Frank Holliday’s SEE/SAW at Mucciaccia Gallery in NYC”

Gelah Penn: Uneasy Terms at 

by John Mendelsohn

Uneasy Terms by Gelah Penn at Undercurrent
Gelah Penn, Notes on Clarissa, installation view detail

Art is a form of telepathy, a download from mind to mind. It moves through an imperfect medium, whose noise may be the signal, and whose significance is encoded deep within the image. Beyond the drama of emotion or thrill of sensuality, finally it is a consciousness that shines through to us.

Continue reading “Gelah Penn: Uneasy Terms at 

Apollonia Vanova’s Sleepover Gallery in Toronto

by Emese Krunák-Hajagos

Artist Lumír Hladík on left and Darren Gallery’s owner Apollonia Vanova. Photo, Yianni Tongh

EKH: Darren Gallery is reopening after, as you’ve said, a long and painful renovation with a new concept: Sleepover Art Gallery. Where did this idea come from?

AV: The sleepover gallery concept came about from a variety of factors.  It’s difficult to sell art, as it’s not a life necessity and not a surprise when galleries close down after a few years. Continue reading “Apollonia Vanova’s Sleepover Gallery in Toronto”

Points of Engagement

by D. Dominick Lombardi

Irene Rousseau (American, born 1941), Visual Symphony: Stretching the, Space, 2019, Oil on canvas, pen and ink, 36 x 36 x 1 1/2 in., Courtesy of the artist, ©2020 Irene Rousseau

The success of an exhibition, or any work of art for that matter, is its ability to engage the viewer. Engagement can be a bit more difficult to achieve when you eliminate any sort of representation, as with the current exhibition at the Hofstra Museum of Art, Uncharted: American Abstraction in the Information Age. Continue reading “Points of Engagement”