Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Painting with Pictures": loco con sabor!

I am very excited to announce the show I co-curated with David Gibson and Savannah Spirit, "Painting with Pictures", opened last night at the Casita Maria Center in the Bronx. The show of 32 artists revisits the concept of collage, and will have a follow-up "Part II" in the winter. Casita Maria is a gorgeous building, a few minutes walk from the 2, 5, and 6 trains, and the show is on the top floor, affording lovely views of city rooftops, sunsets, and the elegant stream of ever-present traffic on the Bruckner Expressway.

Right: Hector Madera-Gonzalez installation of collage on found posters.

Left: Artists Tim Rollins and Conrad Vogel.

After a lovely opening, the madding crowd assembled at a Mexican restaurant across the street, and supped on deliciosos Camarones a la Mexicana, freshly-chopped guacamole, and endless glasses of "apple juice" (code for beer). I could barely hear anyone as the jukebox regaled us with forlorn ditties in Spanish, and as I stumbled into the wrong door to have a breath of fresh air, I was pleased to be mortified by a posse of 6 decked-out gals, who clearly felt I had stumbled not only into the wrong door but perhaps the wrong neighborhood. I look forward to revisiting the show in the light of day, as the art changes in the daylight, and the neighborhood beckons with fruit vendors, vibrant graffiti, and a street culture that encourages interaction. Casita Maria has been a fixture in the neighborhood for over 74 years, but the building is only 2 years old and looks it, with gleaming floors, brightly colored walls, and kids energized by their exposure to art and culture.

Right: Director of Development for Casita Maria David Dean adjacent to a matching collage by Amelie Chunleau.

The exhibition continues through July 21, and features works by: Michael Anderson, Melissa Barrett, Chris Bors, Lesly Canossi, Amelie Chunleau, Nancy Drew, Chris Fennell, Carla Gannis, Liam Hanna-Lloyd, Halsey Hathaway, Daniel Kayne Scott, Kiernan, Isolde Kille, Elissa Levy, D. Dominick Lombardi, Hector Madera-Gonzalez, Leah Oates, Sarah Olson, Deborah Pohl, Alexander Reyna, Elizabeth Riley, Ron Rocheleau, Pamela Saturday, Raven Schlossberg, Kaeko Shabana, Jennifer Shepard, Mary Ann Strandell, thefactory101, Austin Thomas, Conrad Vogel, and Michael Zansky.

This exhibition explores the use of collage as an artistic medium, dissecting its impulses and agendas while providing a wide cross-spectrum of its usage in contemporary art. It addresses the role of material culture in mediating our shared view of reality, the notion of a borrowed aesthetic, and how specific visual agendas express differing cultural attitudes. It includes a variety of mediums and aesthetic agendas, presenting not only traditional collage, but works which establish a collage mentality in the liminal forms of photography, video, digital manipulation, painting, sculpture, printmaking, children’s books, commercial signage, portraiture, and others. In the end, it will posit collage as a cause, rather than a symptom, of both artistic style and generational meaning.

Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education; Casita Gallery, 6th Floor
928 Simpson St (Bet Fox/Baretto St & 163rd St)

For more information, check out their website: Casita Maria Center.

Right: Savannah Spirit, Lyla Rose, David Dean, and Asya Geisberg.