The human brain is never still. Our waking and sleeping selves are constantly trying to understand and adapt to changes in environment and in fluctuating mental states: pleasure, danger, boredom and paranoia among them. Artists, whether by training or by instinct, learn to respond to the words, images and concepts fired by our synapses. From that stimuli comes the work, often a revelation, sometimes a justification, always a place to learn about ourselves and our place in this reality. Our work can be a refuge, a path to understanding, an utter torment or a fun, new neighborhood to explore. Regardless, it is as essential to our lives as breathing.
IS / IS NOT gathers three artists who create work that engages the space between imagination and reality in deeply personal ways. IS / IS NOT asks the question: how readily, or honestly can we categorize what we see? Is our interpretation and assumption so overwhelmingly filled with OURSELVES that we cannot remove the self to facilitate better understanding? Ultimately this equation is meaningless since we are image/thought/emotion processing machines, but like undergoing psychotherapy, we sometimes need to own/confront/acknowledge the millions of threads that stimulate and guide us through life.
The art world of today stresses the need to ‘establish, protect and grow your brand’. In the high-stakes commercial gallery world, artists are encouraged to stick to ‘the brand’ and offering new and disparate bodies of work precipitates a negotiation between gallery owner, who wants recognizable branded product and the artist, who wants to follow the messages coming from the brain. It often doesn’t end well.
These three artists are more liberated in their thinking. Or freer in their circumstances. The work is an expression of their current being, what interests them in the moment. Action/reaction. Unravelling the where, why and how is their gift to us. And while we attempt to enter their brains, the work is sparking ours to ponder reality anew.
NOHI MEHROTRA, an abstract painter who we showed in our ‘Troublemakers’ group show, has recently moved towards realism. Permanently? Who knows. We are showing her pathway from previous work as an abstract painter who suddenly found herself painting a realistic still life of flowers based on an abstract painting she had done. The circle of life? Or perhaps she simply sees all the work through the same lens.
MICHELLE MAYER, also in our ‘Troublemakers’ show,
uses various formats and techniques to identify and question her heritage, family relationships and place in the world. As such the work moves around the globe, from India to Europe to America. Along the way the influences, tensions and fascinations, often obscured over time, bubble to the surface.
The artist known as HAMEWS, is a dancer, teacher and all round explorer of this physical dimension. Her recent SMUSH gallery summer residency is the breeding ground for this body based work. Not content to just inhabit the body, she has moved on to making the body. The essence is the skeleton, a deep dive into the interior and we are invited to literally follow her.
Open for Jersey City Friday on September 8th and the following two day weekend, the show is also open for selected weekends and by appointment through November. A schedule of dance and music performances will follow.