What was once Hamilton Dance Studio, owned and operated by the late Rita Hamilton on 11 Newel Street, is now a spacious art gallery with the intention and aspiration of continuing a legacy of supporting local artists.
After the passing of the beloved Mrs. Hamilton in 2020, the landlord of 11 Newel wanted to keep the space art-focused, and now-gallery owner, Christophe Sloan, agreed.
Christophe Sloan has lived in Greenpoint since 2007 and was already familiar with the space because his daughters had previously taken dance class at Hamilton Dance Studio. With a 15 year career in finance, and a longtime love for photography, Sloan decided it was the perfect time to transition into the art world.
With the help of his co-founder and curator, Tessa Kriegman, 11 Newel Gallery opened in August of 2021 with the inaugural exhibition, TIMELY!, which featured 20 New York-based artists. Kriegman, who is also an artist and began her curatorial career in a potato farm in the Hamptons is now joined by fellow curator/program director, Coco Dolle, and the two have been hard at work developing the next six months worth of exhibitions.
The two also worked on the current in-house exhibition which features the works of Tatyana Murray and David Henry Nobody Jr.
Tatyana Murray: Effervescent Reflections
Tatyana Murray is a Brooklyn-based sculpture artist. The work featured in Effervescent Reflections spans her twenty-year career, with pieces from 2001-2021.
“Artist Statement: My sculptural series dreamscapes are created with re-appropriated materials. The different mediums are essential due to the way they react with light. For example, the light reflects off the thousands of staples like sun hitting water. The multitude of semi translucent pipes create an underwater, fantasy dive amongst the coral. The hydrocal bulbous forms reflect and absorb the light in the crevasses and flocking. A new illusion of depth and layering is created. There is tenderness in the work, full of hope, celebrating life. The repetitive pattern making is a meditative process, self-informing itself as the piece evolves. The geometric and circular patterns give rise to the question whether they are something grown or man-made, exploring a universe in which forms continually verge on collapse and rearrangement, creating a constant flux. There is a visual tension between harmony and chaos, spiraling in and out of control, but at the heart of this disorienting movement lies stillness. A space where the spectator can slow down in this fast paced world, catch their breath and reflect.”Tatyana Murray
With the use of recycled materials, Murray’s collection showcases the extraordinary possibilities of the otherwise mundane and the otherwise disregarded objects around us. For example, her most recent Van Gogh-inspired piece, Starry Night, which took two years to make, was created with the use of 100,000 staples. Provocative and sensual, Murray’s colorful work inspires a fascination for life.
David Henry Nobody Jr.: Liquid Cacophony
Performance artist and creator David Henry Jr. is also a Brooklyn-based artist who has made a name for himself in the world of NFTs.
“Artist Statement: My performance and video works are inspired by myriads of characters stemming from an anthology of references from popular culture, memories and personal emotions. For the past thirty years, I’ve been creating “Art” as a framework for my life to flow in a performative aspect, similar to the Fluxus movement. I feel disenchanted with the elitist attitude of society and the politics of capitalist consumerism. In the vein of the cultural theorist, Zizek and marxist deconstructionist Guy Debord’s ‘The society of the spectacle’, I insert myself with humor and sarcasm into the hypocrisy of the norms. Shocking and disturbing is obviously my genre, much like Francis Bacon, Paul Mcarthy and Otto Dix.”David Henry Nobody Jr.
Equally as provocative, but in an anti-establishment sort of way, Nobody’s featured collection (much like his performance art) is loud, innovative, and very exciting.
“Liquid Cacophony” is a series of videos of paint-splashed embellished stereotype characters. They were created within a week as an adrenaline performance before the opening of my show. The use of paint on the body comes from breaking down the academic painterly notions of figure-ground relationship, that is the visual relationship between a composition’s foreground and illusion. Each video acts as a tableau focused on colors, purple, blue, red, green, orange and yellows. The action of the paint splash transforms each character into the unrecognisable, revealing the emotional. Much like the society of spectacle, the personal becomes a cacophony of nonsense, lost in the digital illusions created by the fabric of our society. The video with color blue shows a crazy professor screaming about smashing the Patriarchy (POTriarchy holding a pot) alluding to firecracker philosopher Slovaj Zizek. The video with the skeleton man in color green references dumb 1990s bands like White Zombie. The red splash piece feels like something out of Warhol’s Factory with the Velvet Underground modeling a weird photoshoot. Colors fuschia and green show an OG (original gangster) urban cyclist, a stereotype. The yellow splash character is an early 2000s Electro style club kid, melting on the dance floor, etc.
As beautifully stated by Dolle, “Together the two artists bring a synergy of work that’s very contemporary in physical and digital.” Dolle intends on including more NFT-minded artists in next year’s exhibitions, as she believes it is an inevitable and essential shift in the evolving world of art. (To learn more about NFTs, you can read Dolle’s article in White Hot Magazine.)
11 Newel Gallery is hosting a closing reception for the current exhibition on Wednesday, December 15th from 6pm-9pm. The event is open to the public, although they do request attendees to RSVP ahead of time. You can do so by emailing RSVP@11newel.com
Dolle and Kriegman have already curated the next six months’ worth of exhibitions, some of which have been announced on their website. In the beginning of 2022, they will feature three sculpture artists who come from varied backgrounds, then they’ll host a group show of paintings, followed by another NFT and AR (augmented reality) exhibit in the spring. In other words, they are full speed ahead!
So far, most of the artists are Brooklyn-based. Though Dolle is interested in hosting international artists eventually, she said there’s so much talent in our community that expanding hasn’t been necessary. They hope to continue hosting Brooklyn-based artists, as being a necessary hub for the art community is essential to their mission. It’s the perfect place for artists to meet collectors and for the community to appreciate the work of their neighbors in a quiet, spacious, bright space.
Sloan and Dolle envision eventually posting open calls for talent with the continued intention of cultivating the development of early and mid-career artists. With a desire for multi-disciplinary collaboration, the two also hope to host more events in the space, including panelist discussions, live performances, and various receptions.