Spring has sprung, and new life means new galleries. One such fresh space is Subtitled.nyc, opening its doors at 113 Franklin Street starting May 18. The contemporary space will feature a handful of works, including those by Paul Vogeler, a local artist who calls the neighborhood a “delightful village” and exalts the mundane and yearning within human contact, specifically through a lens that investigates what we understand as fetish. Here, Paul discusses his process, homemade tarot cards (sold locally!), and the life brimming at this new arts space on Franklin and Greenpoint.
Greenpointers: You are part of Subtitled.NYC’s inaugural show! How did you get connected to them?
Yes, so happy to be part of this show. I was connected with the Gallerist Jaejoon Jang (Subtitled.nyc) through another artist Hae Wahn Sohn (who also has a studio in Greenpoint), who recommended my work because of its figurative nature. The inaugural show will be primarily figurative works.
What can visitors expect from your pieces at this exhibit?
As of now, I will be showing two smaller works. One is a self-portrait in a latex mask, and another shows a feminine-presenting person turned away, a meditation on life and loss. The works continue my investigation of the fetish as an allegory for both our divine and fallen selves, our humanity.
This is a quote from my thesis, For The Love of Existence, 2021: “In my artwork, I often depict myself or others in a latex or gas mask; the masks allow us to simultaneously hide and embody a different persona, one that might not always be aligned with accepted vernacular doctrine. They are an object of desire, but also symbolize something we are desirous of: human touch. Human touch is denied, the latex uniform a potential armor against intimacy. Seeing only the head, the viewer questions what is happening beneath.”
Your studio is in Greenpoint — how would you define your time here as an artist?
I like to think of Greenpoint as a delightful village! I have an apartment on a quiet street and then a painting studio on Greenpoint Ave. I live and work in Greenpoint. As a figurative painter, I enjoy being a patron at many of the neighborhood’s bars and establishments, where I like to sit and observe, read poetry, and draw in my sketchbook. There is nothing more entertaining, conflicting, and terribly beautiful than our own humanity. I like watching it play out, meeting new people who might inspire paintings, and being in a community of other thriving creatives. Everyone’s story is unique! Everyone’s story is interesting. Other than that I am in my studio every day, all day!
You’ve also created your own tarot cards, yes? How interesting — tell us about that!
Yes I did! It was a project I started working on in 2018 after my marriage had fallen apart, and my father was dying of cancer. I started looking towards Tarot as another tool. What is going on? Why is this happening? My life had become the Tower Card, but after the Tower is the Star, a time for renewal. This project became a way to create something beautiful from the pain. I hand carved 78 original blocks, each card is a unique work of art. I released a limited edition Tarot Deck (Edition of 300) titled Die Sterne über Mir, which is German for “The Stars Over Me,” a nod to Wim Wender’s film Der Himmel über Berlin. I lived in Berlin for six years before making my way back to Greenpoint. The deck is available online at thestarsoverme.com or at Spoonbill and Sugartown on Bedford Ave, or Starhawk Design Studio in Greenpoint.
As far as you know, what is Subtitled.NYC looking to accomplish and how does this inaugural show make a statement for that new space?
Jaejoon is quite an amazing figure. He is an artist, tattooist, and now, gallerist from South Korea. Their first show will feature seven figurative artists, myself among them. I believe the second show will be a landscape show. The gallery hopes to introduce Korean artists to New York but also New York artists will be blended into the program. The location is ideal, right there on Franklin Street at Greenpoint Ave! The inaugural show will be this month, May 18. Hope to see you there!
Anything else you want to add?
Just a thank you! Very grateful for this opportunity and very grateful for all the work you do at Greenpointers! It really was/is a lifesaver during the pandemic as well, and I am happy that it promotes our lovely village and its inhabitants.