Greenpoint Gallery Night gives a unique opportunity for the public to garner an understanding of the art scene at play in the neighborhood. With artists using different mediums operating within oscillating thematic contexts, it’s difficult to leave the evening feeling some semblance of collaborative, emotional unity and easy to get lost in colors and images. Art shows aren’t necessarily intended to create that singular, warm, and serendipitous effect, but it’s nice when it happens. The operative of Greenpoint Gallery Night isn’t necessarily to create a network of coordinating openings that speak to each other, but to open up all the windows and doors in order to let the neighborhood speak for itself. Greenpoint Gallery Night is a night of simultaneous openings aimed at community rather than artistic unity. Art viewers follow a map, occasionally get lost, but reemerge in new spaces, which–after an hour or so into the journey–start to boast familiar faces. The two portraits below show the diversity of Greenpoint’s art scene.
SENBAZURU: THE STORY OF CRANES
“Dance of Cranes” by Mandy Kelso, Acrylics on canvas, 96″x32″
One thousand origami cranes and your dreams will come true. So says the Japanese tradition; if you find the patience to fold a thousand of them, you’ll be granted one wish. “The Story of Cranes” at Theceeflat Gallery features artists Robbie Kelso, Mandy Kelso, musical artist Gandhi, and film artist Drew Lokko.
The unity of the thematic elements of Japanese culture bespeaks the cohesiveness of the work at Theceeflat Gallery, where Mandy’s colorful crane paintings all seem to be speaking to one another throughout the open gallery space like migrating birds whose flight patterns perfectly mirror one another’s. The collective blessing of Senbazuru (the name for the numerical feat of the the thousand-crane collective) hangs from the ceiling, and the second floor vantage point gives the flock an illusion of flight, while simultaneously serving as a reminder of the powerful tradition the artists at Theceeflat are drawing from.
Kelso’s cranes do more than hang from the ceiling. They interact with each other, they play; they look on like the members of a wedding party watching their friends exchange vows, which isn’t so far from the truth. For artists Mandy and Robbie Kelso, the end of their crane-making journey marked the beginning of their married lives together, and (one week later) the opening of the show. “I made my bridesmaids’ dresses, and at fittings, I’d have everyone fold cranes,” Mandy Kelso tells us. The two cranes moving in Kelso’s paintings interact with each other on canvas like newlyweds exchanging vows or engaging in a first dance. The collective blessing of Senbazuru, the spiritual request for “happiness, health, and good wishes,” could easily double as our marriage toast to Mandy and Robbie. While group shows may run the risk of lacking continuity, the purposiveness of both Senbazaru and the Kelsos love for each other, made the Story of Cranes at CeeFlat a standout at Greenpoint Gallery Night.
#THROWBACKTHURSDAY #FLASHBACKFRIDAY #CALICO #GALLERYNIGHT #GREENPOINT
Love Corner in Summer, Stacie Johnson, 2006, o
Calico’s first juried group exhibition, “#throwbackthursday/ #flashbackfriday,” plays on the notion of social media ‘nostalgia’ whereby the embarrassing photos of our youth we once hid from visitors and friends have resurfaced to the realm of the proudly visible on our Instagram feeds. Artists were asked to #throwback and submit old artwork to be shown against the new, allowing the viewer to Venn diagram the progression, similarities, and differences. Calico asked artists to consider the following questions: “As artists, are we as willing to share images from our potentially cringeworthy artistic pasts? Could the older work be a ‘younger, hotter’ version of its modern counterpart? Perhaps there is an outright cohesiveness in one’s work that has withstood the test of time…?” Stacie Johnson, an artist in the show, chose pieces to compare which she felt were “drastically different on the surface, but fundamentally similar at the core.”
“The older painting, Love Corner in Summer,” Johnson tells us, “is a still-life with specific objects from a domestic setting. It is an actual scene from my apartment at the time and this is why the older work can feel more personal. Both the older painting and the new painting are tightly composed and geometric, and both play with the grid. In fact both of these paintings split the scene right down the middle, something that I come back to time and again. The newer painting, Premium Samples Packet, explores variations in the surface of the painting and uses texture in a more sensitive way. The newer painting approaches the formal head on, suggesting movement and emotion by using a mashup of mark-making styles, and leaves out that layer of imagery and narrative in the older work.”
Premium Samples Packet, Stacie Johnson, 2013, Oil on linen, 29 x 40 inches. Photo by Tom Van Eynde. Image courtesy of Calico Brooklyn.
Calico’s “#throwbackthursday/ #flashbackfriday” features work from Adams Puryear, Charles Wilkin, Eric Lee Bowman, Lauren Silberman, Marcia Cooper, Mark Mann, Rachel Farmer, Samuel Baumel, Stacie Johnson, and Thomas Buildmore, and is located at 67 West St, #206 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn 11222. The space is open on Fridays from 12-5 pm and by appointment. Go to http://calicobrooklyn.com/ for more information.