Exhibition Recaps: Greenpoint Gallery Night 3/18

China Marks: Not Quite Human at Owen James Gallery
China Marks: Not Quite Human at Owen James Gallery, Photo: A.P. Smith

Last Friday marked the 18th Greenpoint Gallery Night, hosted by Scott Chasse (Calico) and Owen Houhoulis (Owen James Gallery) who voluntarily organized this informal directory of art spaces and organizations. It’s a night to roam the neighborhood, visiting new and familiar places, and meeting some of the talented creatives who make Greenpoint the incredible neighborhood it is.

Here’s a short recap of the work I was able to see. Hope to see you at the next one!

Owen James Gallery at 61 Greenpoint Avenue presented the show, China Marks: Not Quite Human, a collection of fabric collages made by the 72-year-old NYC artist.

Some works were frightening and some were humorous and some were both: an alien creature discovered by an old English hunting party with the sewn inscription, “Whatever it is, Kill it!”

China Marks: Not Quite Human at Owen James Gallery, Photo: A.P. Smith
China Marks: Not Quite Human at Owen James Gallery, Photo: A.P. Smith

The artist’s process, mixing original embroidery and found pieces, begins with a scanned line drawing, processed through CAD software and sewn to the fabric with a computerized embroidery machine.

As elaborate and detailed as these works are, I was surprised to discover these works were considered “Short Subjects” compared to the artist’s larger tapestries.

I was delighted by the show and most impressed by the sculptural, fabric-based book displayed on a pedestal in the back of the space. With no words save for the title, “A Book of Horses”, the book features anthropomorphic foxes and snakes as hunters on horseback moving across psychedelic landscapes, all of which felt somehow holy or religious. Was it a pilgrimage? Other pages collaged imagery reminiscent of ancient Egypt or Dios de la Muerta.

Quina Mestrich: Hard to Place at Booklyn, Photo: A.P. Smith
Quina Mestrich: Hard to Place at Booklyn, Photo: A.P. Smith

At 37 Greenpoint Avenue is Booklyn, an artist-run, non-profit, consensus-governed, artist and bookmakers organization founded in 1999. For this edition of Greenpoint Gallery Night, Booklyn extended the exhibition Qiana Mestrich: Hard to Place. In this body of work, Qiana Mestrich changes her traditionally autobiographical focus to someone else: her husband. Exploring family and ancestry, the exhibited photographs and ephemera (also beautifully curated and bound in a full-color book) traces the journey of Joseph, a mixed-race foster child growing up in1960s London and categorized as “half-caste” and described as “hard to place.”

Quina Mestrich: Hard to Place at Booklyn, Photo: A.P. Smith
Quina Mestrich: Hard to Place at Booklyn, Photo: A.P. Smith

The displayed works include color photographs, matchbooks, a typewriter, an ashtray full of cigarettes, and wall-tacked tracing paper detailing itemized lists from the Center for Homeless Families. Arranged along the perimeter of the room, the exhibition invites the viewer to move around the installation catching glimpses of this young man’s life, juxtaposed with glimpses, contemporary photos of a young baby, presumably the child of the artist and subject, adding a hopefulness and day dream quality to the exhibition.

At Your Leisure: Alyse Ronayne and Jordan Kasey at Greenpoint Terminal Gallery, Photo: A.P. Smith
At Your Leisure: Alyse Ronayne and Jordan Kasey at Greenpoint Terminal Gallery, Photo: A.P. Smith

Greenpoint Terminal Gallery, 67 West Street, hosted the opening reception for a two-person exhibition of work titled At Your Leisure. With sculptures by Alyse Ronayne and large-scale paintings by Jordan Kasey, the small gallery could barely support the work, not to mention the dozens of guests and friends

At Your Leisure: Alyse Ronayne and Jordan Kasey at Greenpoint Terminal Gallery, Photo: A.P. Smith
At Your Leisure: Alyse Ronayne “Desk Space” at Greenpoint Terminal Gallery, Photo: A.P. Smith

Ronayne’s 6-ft-tall metal sculptures stood on the floor with shapes cut out, the negative space cutting through all sides like windows in a wall or gashes in flesh. My favorite, “Desk Space”, utilizes a piece of cutout steel, bent and propped at desktop-height displaying an entanglement or large bright orange fuzzy beads, something like cartoon prayer beads.

At Your Leisure: Jordan Kasey "Bus Ride" at Greenpoint Terminal Gallery, Photo: A.P. Smith
At Your Leisure: Jordan Kasey “Bus Ride” at Greenpoint Terminal Gallery, Photo: A.P. Smith

The large-scale paintings by Jordan Kasey feel oversized in the space, which only adds to their overwhelming sense of claustrophobia. “Bus Ride” features a pale figure wearing a colorful tank top betwixt two dark, ghostly figures. The pale figure seems to be grasping at a tinted pink hue, as if to move it out of the way to better see out the window of what looks like a subway car window, despite the painting’s title. The colors and texture are both vibrant and monochromatic but it’s the proximity to the subjects, a dangerous voyeurism of sorts that I find most interesting and disturbing.

Michael Hambouz: Pretty in Pink at Calico Gallery, Photo: A.P. Smith
Michael Hambouz: Pretty in Pink at Calico Gallery, Photo: A.P. Smith

At 67 West Street, Calico hosted a closing reception for Michael Hambouz: Pretty in Pink. The show featured a variety of mediums, including video and paintings, most notably 3-D sculptural lenticular paintings that changed color and depth as the viewer moved and changed perspective.

A rotating cylindrical lenticular sculpture provided the same experience with no required perspective change from the viewer. In fact, I found the slowly rotating sculpture the most engaging work of evening: meditative yet antagonistic.

Greenpoint Gallery Night Map 3/18/16
Greenpoint Gallery Night Map 3/18/16

The March 18th 2016 Greenpoint Gallery Night featured over a dozen exhibitions and I visited as many as I could in one evening. Here is a full list of participating galleries and shows.

For more information about GGN and the participating artists and galleries, please visit GreenpointGalleries.org

About Andy Smith

A.P. Smith is a writer, photographer, and record collector living in Greenpoint with his dog, Luigi.

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