Bushwick Open Studios and Renegade Craft Fair never fails to launch on the same weekend. There is also always the guarantee that in those two days it will be motherf*ing hot. For the last couple years I’ve attend both events there was always the threat of windy thunderstorms and sweltering heat that make sweat beads collectible to save for rehydrating later (just kidding, that’s gross). So onwards I went to Renegade on Saturday and BOS on Sunday, handkerchief in hand dabbing my damp face every few seconds. It really doesn’t help that I have the sweaty nose of a panting dog and am uber self-conscious when anyone get’s too close to see my sweat trickling orifice.
This year round there were upwards of 250 artists welcoming us perspiring animals in their non air-conditioned studios. I started off at my girl Ali’s studio on Ingraham St and unfortunately didn’t make it very far thereafter. I visited 3 buildings within walking distance then freaked out when someone mumbled “Yea I heard there’s a tornado warning”. I swiftly jetted out of a building only to be greeted by a raging downpour. I stood outside Roberta’s and smoked a nervous cigarette while the rain calmed down and eventually stopped. I was too shaken to continue my journey and went home to tend to my veggie garden and take a nap. For those who are unaware, I hate storms and clouds. It makes me very nervous.
On that note I’d like to dabble on a few highlights and the one artist who really short of blew me away.
Let’s go ahead and start with Ali Aschman. Enter her sub-ground floor studio and you’re welcomed into a world of fantastical creatures moping and crawling about in their fluorescent pastel color dabbed surroundings. Reinterpretations of human-animal hybrids mingle with teardrops with ominous messages and geometric patterned little doll houses host a masquerade of some dark and foreboding narrative. I especially love sneaking my eyes around her desk, peering into her supply bin and wishing O so badly that I were an artist with a studio like this of my own.
Holly Rochilo‘s paintings incorporated many a patterns, including those using geometric optimal stencils. There’s all about intergalactic and voluminous space, with shapes connecting one to another while engaging in manipulating its surrounding space.
The large watercolors of Sarah Olson freakishly reminded me of my ex-boss’ work, Janaina Tschape. Natural forms redefined, manipulated, fierce in tone and color. I overheard her saying each drawing was made during a 90 minute performance for an opera where she played the character of an artist.
Standard sized photographs by Shanna Maurizi with images of animals are cut and collaged within human settings creating a jarring juxtaposition between human intervention and natural wellbeing. They’re creepy and gave off an air of emptiness and dread.
The studio of Future Archeology recalled science experiments from elementary school, except much smarter. I overheard the artist saying the trees branches were collected from wastelands over yonder (Jersey) alongside water collected from nearby polluted creeks. An ice cube from the said water source is tied atop this concoction of branch and string, dropping drops down various directional paths into containers on the floor. I know they recently had an installation at Firehouse 212 which I missed and was curious to find out about their intention to “investigate the cybernetic nature of ecosystems”. I’d like to know what cybernetic exactly means please.
The series After the Women of Paradise Road by artist Nat Ward short of blew me away. It’s definitely the highlight of my short visit around the studios. The artist takes photographs of magazine boxes strewn across Paradise Road in Las Vegas. By photographing the images of women on the covers of the magazines from outside of the box he creates this amazing visual affect that is pure and raw, untouched and unmanipulated. Marked layers from dry sun exposure, natural gritty stains, magazine holding bars, and scratchy reflections are all incorporated into the image. It’s the perfect conceptual reflection of the body as commodifiable object, worn and torn, used and reused to gratify temporary desires.
On the streets of Bushwick performances and artist interventions abounded. There was a lady drinking cocktails in a neon outfit inside a bathtub, three ladies in raincoats stretching outside a liquor store, and an art show taking place inside rental trucks. I definitely had one of those moments where, quote my friend Ram “Only in New York will you find such a concentrated community of artists”, thriving and creating, invading a neighborhood with art and turning it into a way of life. It made appreciate Bushwick a little more, considering I poo poo’ed on it more than once for it’s defined dirty grungy showyness.
Gitana Rosa gallery hosted a show of oil paintings to benefit The Nature Conservancy and their efforts to aid in the recovery process after a heinous oil spill. I love the above painting of the chiseled man. The intense and comical stare made me chuckle.
I’ve seen these paint dripping abstracted sculptures by Jonathan VanDyke at Scaramouche a while back and was intrigued by the work’s sculptural and painterly dualities. The time sensitive ever changing activity of watching paint drip and collect on the floor made me question whether or not the paint spill could be cleaned off the floor later.
Mathilde Roussel-Giraudy’s works on paper have an overwhelming immense sense of delicacy, quietude, softness, and whispering. They feel unwholesome and unfinished, but I say that in the best way possible. They’re glimpses and suggestions for something bigger, a something that will never quite be manifested. They’re personal without being too imposing and get to the heart of human feelings and matters. The above picture doesn’t say as much as I just described but check out her website and hopefully you’ll get my gist.
The candy colored paintings of Lori Kirkbride are particular in their ever so shiny quality, where a thick layer of resin looms over playfully patterned lines and shapes. This is my second year walking into her windowless studio and I’m again super intrigued by the sheer number of works she has up on the wall. No doubt she can spit these babies out with the speed of squeeze tubes squeezed too fast (what?).
I think I’ve potentially found a very talented artist named Johannah Herr. I was drawn to the pure absurdity of these photographs, the head pieces a reinterpreting of rituals and religions, costuming and sacrificing. The stark black background makes each figure protrude out the picture plane and the nitty gritty diy energy about it blends well with what seems like an innate elegance. Her website not only shows she’s super young, but also artistically diverse.
Jill Sigman was one of a few reenacting performers for Marina Abramovic’s recently closed retrospective. Here she gives a performance in reaction to her experience with a acts of improvised movements. I walked it as she sang a patriotic song atop her makeshift wooden storage closet, her arms expanded wide holding some nifty antennae sword. She climbed down and had a “present artist” moment with another performer and between then were some chunks of bloody meat carcass, remnants of a performance I probably missed. The room was silent and somber, reflective and serene. Her soft unassuming voice alone was enough to create a disturbingly soothing experience.
Marionette maker Erik Sanko set up his studio to look as creepy as possible. Mission completed.
There’s a sign on the wall where Wink Wink Pony installed a series of very cute and bubbly big-headed animals that says “Please don’t pet the animals.” This goes hand in hand with overhearing the artist saying something along the lines of “I’m not taking it too seriously”. You mean, art can be fun too? Yes, it can be fun too.
In the past I’ve had dreams where all my eyes could see was a heinously infinite field of white. These creepy dreamy white plastered objects by Kyu Seok Oh reminded me of those dreams and I shuddered.
This is the second year to come upon the ridiculous performative works of Kin Kyung Chong. I love the photographs above where she’s lathered herself in food products.
So as you can see, this year’s visit was very abridged and un-comprehensive. Let’s hope that next year there is no tornado warning and it’s not intolerably hot.