Artist Reception: Sunday, 5/5/13, 3-5pm
Victory Hall Inc. announces the reopening of DRAWING ROOMS, our new site for contemporary art located at 180 Grand St, Jersey City, on 5/2/13.
Now, six months after our Fall premiere was cut short by Hurricane Sandy damage, we are ready to begin year-round art exhibitions. DRAWING ROOMS presents NIGHT AND DAY in 7 gallery rooms, and in 2 SPECIAL PROJECT ROOMS, DARK PASSAGE and THE MANY FACES OF ROSS BONN. Curated by James Pustorino and Anne Trauben.
NIGHT AND DAY explores works of contrasting opposites, hidden meanings, and the atmospheric qualities of light and darkness. The show consists of seven solo exhibitions by Heidi Curko, Kay Kenny, Steve Singer, Tim Daly, Tomomi Ono, Sandra DeSando and Michael Difeo.
The concepts of night and day, light and darkness, have long engaged artists’ thinking and spurred them to create some of the greatest and most well-known works of the late 19th to mid-20th century. James McNeill Whistler began to make landscapes infused with atmospheric light, emphasizing mood and feeling over-all as early as 1866. He called these images nocturnes, taking a cue from musical compositions of the same name.
Impressionist painter Claude Monet’s famous series of paintings of haystacks and the Rouen Cathedral of the 1880s and 1890s are paintings of light and its effects. His late water-lilies paintings take these concepts even further, approaching abstraction. “For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life – the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.” – Claude Monet
As art progresses into the 20th century, this exploration is significantly carried on in works in photography, such as Alfred Stieglitz’s Equivalents series, and we see abstract expressionist painters such as Mark Rothko creating tonal compositions of color and light. Later in life, his palette changes to greys and blacks or browns, exploring both exterior and interior concepts of darkness. At about this time, the late 1960s to early 70s, the minimalist artist Robert Ryman began making completely white paintings and James Turrell started working with structures of pure light and space. The concept of light and darkness both transcends and bridges realism and abstraction, emphasizing the experience of the work over the object itself.
The seven artists gathered here in NIGHT AND DAY create work which is greatly informed by this legacy in very different ways, seeking differing effects and in varying mediums. Seeing how they each explore these concepts, and understanding their intentions and what they are looking to achieve, will enhance what we as viewers are able to see and bring a fresh way for us to consider this subject.
Steve Singer has worked as a sculptor for a number of years. In his plein-air watercolor painting he sculpts with color as light to describe form recording the scenes he places himself in. Tim Daly’s works for this exhibit are largely composites of places he has passed, references to photos he has taken worked into imaginary, yet realistic scenes. Working like a filmmaker, he creates mood pieces sets where events seem about to happen. Sandra DeSando’s multi-panel ink on paper works build clearly upon the Whistler nocturnes, Monet waterlillies and abstract expressionist works before her. Working with intensely pigmented washes and drawn graphic marks she creates a poetic, atmospheric environment between realism and abstraction. Heidi Curko makes use of minimalist process to create drawings that are a series of records of her experience and explore spiritual aspects of light to dark transformation. Kay Kenny’s time-lapse night photographs are both actual and theatrical; a record of the photographer’s actions in the country in the dark, moving with lights as her paintbrush. In Michael Difeo’s PYROLOGY series the photographer is moving the camera itself, instead of moving in front of the camera. His distortions of fireworks, along with the painterly references in his application of clear textures and frame choice recall the grand abstract seascapes of Turner or Whistler. His use of actual fire and charring upon the surface of his images has precedence in the charred paintings of Yves Klein in the 1960s. Tomomi Ono has been addressing the literal images of night and day skies in her work for some time. Her precise presentation and sensitive treatment, created in layers of color and drawing through the stone-lithography print-making process, make these quietly powerful images extremely symbolic yet realistic.
Margaret Weber explores the nexus of memory and fantasy in her striking DARK PASSAGE series of intaglio prints in a SPECIAL PROJECT ROOM. A fascinating series of states and variations combining etching, water-based media and collage elements.
THE MANY FACES OF ROSS BONN presents a wide selection of the myriad personalities that this Bayonne artist creates, from cowboys to starlets, suburban couples to semi-humans in a SPECIAL PROJECT ROOM. Ross Bonn's intriguing portraits uncover the masks people wear to reveal the persona beneath.