These are dark times, there’s no denying it. From political unrest and environmental crisis to smaller gripes like seasonal allergies and MTA woes, it’s easy to get bogged down in this concrete jungle we call home. But Buket Savci, this week’s featured artist, is here with a salve in her magnificently colorful and fantastically buoyant works. Buket’s paintings, along with Jacob Hicks’, will be the inaugural works at Wrong Side of the River (67 West Street, Suite 312) now through May 3. Their exhibition, Wonderland, is a welcome balm to our times and a stunning exercise in collaborative creativity. Below, we get to know Buket and her work, but most importantly her contagious and relentless optimism.
Greenpointers: How long have you been in Brooklyn?
Buket Savci: I live and work in Brooklyn; I’ve been in Bushwick for a little over three years. Before that I lived in Astoria for almost 10 years. But I’ve had my studio in Greenpoint since I received my MFA from New York Academy of Art in 2012. I also studied painting at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
I am so glad to hear you enjoy our title for the show. I have been working on these series of paintings for a few years now, which are about the fleeting moments of pure joy and happiness. I create paintings addressing the ephemerality of happiness while using objects like balloons as a metaphor for our short lived contentment.
I really enjoy using saturated vivid colors, and I think everything else is so negative and dark so at least my paintings should be colorful and fun. That’s why I use the colors that makes me happy, and I enjoy including humor in my art. But actually I am not that joyful. Life is not easy and I had my share of traumas. Unfortunately a few years ago I had a major depression and even my psychiatrist was constantly telling me that my art will save me. Painting is my passion, and it is this wonderland where anything can happen, so I choose to make it fun and colorful like a playground.
There is this profound quote from a Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet; he asks to Abidin Dino, who was a famous Turkish artist. “Could you make a painting of happiness?” So all these led me to question what is real happiness, when and how we feel real joy, and how do I express this through painting.
Painting lets me live these fleeting moments in detail and throughly over a course of weeks even months. I want to create a niche of fantasy, where both the figures and I as the painter can be just like a child — innocent and playful, carefree and bold. A visual playground far away from all the darkness enclosing us outside and inside, blossomed through sincerity and trust.
We are gearing up to immerse ourselves in local art and can’t wait to kick it off in Java Studios (252 Java St) Friday (6/1) night! From 7:30-11:30PM, we will be weaving around the three floors of art studio spaces and checking out the gallery show inside The Java Project. Outside, there will be live music, video projections, performance art, and a bar stocked with beer by Greenpoint Beer & Ale and wine supplied by Palinkerie.
Forecast is looking drizzly but that’s not gonna stop us from splashing around outside underneath Architensions’ iridescent Dikhroos tent, built in collaboration with the owners of Java, who are artists themselves.
The time has come to pass the torch. It’s been an absolute joy and privilege working as Art Editor at Greenpointers.com for the last two years. The amount of creativity and artistry and community that I’ve experienced, not just as a fellow resident but as a journalist, has been overwhelming. You guys are the best!
Now, more than ever before, I’m fully convinced that Greenpoint is the most supportive, most artistic community in New York (and resultantly, one could argue the world). But don’t tell anyone!
Jk jk jk you already know! It’s not a secret. Greenpoint’s beloved artistic community only continues to grow in scope and renown and popularity every year. Continue reading →
Anthony Cudahy paints the remnants of an ephemeral past, utilizing found photographs as source material and preserving the echoes of memory in radiant paintings of oil on canvas.. An exhibition of his recent work, The Gathering, is currently on view through February 12th at The Java Project at 252 Java Street. The exhibition is a beautiful allegory for the impermanence of memory and collective history as examined through personal narrative.
In this exhibition, Cudahy presents two large-scale oil paintings as well as several smaller works. Working with a sourced image found through the online One Archives at the University of California that depicts a gathering of a nameless group of young people at a 70’s queer camping retreat taken by Pat Rocco, Cudahy creates a personal narrative that builds upon the fragments of a history that is rarely at the forefront of our conversation. It is both a timely and important statement on how history can be erased, forgotten or changed, told through Cudahy’s personal narrative. The exhibition opens an important dialogue with the viewers, as queer history is rarely addressed by mainstream media. It is part of a larger conversation that is (excuse the pun) still coming out.
Cudahy brings queer history into the larger context of gender identity, as the figures’ are in numerous ways ambiguous. You can see the transformation and evolution across the exhibition, with Cudahy working on the larger paintings and smaller works on paper concurrently – each influencing the other.
Cudahy paints beautifully. The surface of each work on canvas abounds in texture while his colors fluctuate between the rich darkness of velvet and areas of bright luminescence that appear to be lit from within. Working and reworking the source image, Cudahy takes ownership, transforming and continuously re-defining the meaning of the finished piece. Picking apart the composition, figure by figure to create a rippling, breathing surface of lush color, Cudahy’s utilization of chiaroscuro bears a marked comparison to the canvases of Goya. Like a gathering of spirits, the figures modulate in areas of shadow and light across the larger canvases, while in smaller studies Cudahy repeats certain figures and gestures again and again, capturing new meaning in each iteration.
An essay by Marcelo Gabriel Yáñez, an NYU art history student that has recently been making waves with an article in UK’s Dazed magazine is presented adjacent to the exhibition. A decision that curator Dakota Sica left up to Cudahy, as the Java Project gives as much free reign as possible to its exhibiting artists. In his essay on the Cudahy’s exhibition, Yáñez writes of ephemerality, of re-imagining the original photograph as a queer utopia in a mutable form, able to re-shape the image into something new and imbuing it with meaning that stems from Cudahy’s own experiences.
Greenpointers had the opportunity to speak to Cudahy on these aspects of queer history and gender identity in the show. On describing the original subject of the source material and his approach, Cudahy is straightforward:
AC: I would say it’s closer to gender-ambiguous or gender-fluid than neutral. In the sense these figures exist outside of neat binaries (which anti-identitarian signifies to me) — potentiality and an attempt away from “one-correct-meaning” is something I’m interested in. Formally, painting this image so many times, repeating formations or cropping while dramatically changing the colors of moods is an attempt away from there being one scene being represented.
GP: A lot of your paintings focus on facial features, or gestures, would you consider yourself to be a portrait artist? What interests you the most in working from found photographs?
AC: I wouldn’t say portrait in the sense that I don’t really think I’m getting across the feel or “soul” of the people I’m painting. Maybe “figurative” is a better umbrella? I’ve always worked from photographs, and occasionally, lately painting (like the flower still life that entered one of the paintings in this show), but in this case, there’s also a specific intent on painting from queer history: a past that has been willfully diminished and erased. In a way, I’m arguing that the past is as (or more) malleable and filled with potential as the present/future.
When asked about the significance of the pride flag as described by Yáñez:
AC: The pride flag idea was a very loose association I made, not super concrete. I wanted to make sure those colors that had been bureaucratically taken off were represented, especially since they stood in for magic, art and sex!
It’s no news that Greenpoint is rapidly changing. Amongst the new developments (and closures), the local arts community has witnessed major growth. From the ever-expanding, high-caliber Greenpoint Open Studios, to a popular Friday night drink-n-draw to rival Bushwick’s BatHaus, to a NYTimes shout out of 106 Green on a list of not to be missed galleries – Greenpoint is gaining major traction. Both Cudahy, as well as the Java Project, seem poised at the center of all this momentum – a promising combination that speaks to Greenpoint’s continued shift towards an encompassing arts district. So what are you waiting for? Go see the show before it closes!
Ok, y’all… how we doing with those New Year’s resolutions? It’s been about three weeks, you still with me? Because I know one of those resolutions was to “see more art” or “soak up the culture” or “take full advantage of this great city,” something like that?
“Don’t be silly, Andy,” you say. “I love art, I see art all the time!”
I double-dog dare you to hit two of these six galleries this weekend.
Microscope is very pleased to present Break The Sky, the first solo exhibition at the gallery by Jeanne Liotta, whose works we have previously shown in “Triple Blind” (2013), “Slide Slide Slide” (2014), and “Dreamlands: Expanded” (2016-17), a series of expanded cinema events presented in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art as part of the exhibition “Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema & Art 1905-2016”.
A recurring theme of Liotta’s practice – which spans the mediums of moving image, photography, collage, installation, painting, drawing and performance – is a personal and poetic interest in the intersection of art and science and the tools and technology thereof.
On a quiet stretch of North 7th Street, neighboring the BQE, in the shadows of rising condominiums, lies a glass-front, converted warehouse space. There’s no signage, no buzzer, and from the outside, it’s unclear what is going on inside: a handful of people hover over large gray machines, operating levers and rolling cranks. With just a little imagination it could be a white-walled submarine or some kind of steel widget factory.
“I’ve never hung a sign out front,” says the founder and owner, Daniel Gardiner Morris. “When I have events, I have a little A-Frame sign that I’ll sometimes put on the sidewalk. It’s almost maybe superstitious at this point that I’ve never put a sign up.”
Not knowing what they do in there is one thing. Not knowing it’s there is another—it’s been at that same location since opening in 2004.
Inside, the space is awash in daylight from the large windows. The room itself is longer than it is wide, and lined with silver and grey metal machines, rollers attached, a few rustic wooden cabinets, and in the middle of the room is a grouping of tables topped with posters and wood blocks and artist tools.
Is it beginning to come together? Yes! It’s The Arm (281 N 7th St), Williamsburg’s longstanding public access letterpress studio, which Daniel Gardiner Morris has owned and operated for nearly 15 years.
By now you’ve surely noticed the 4-story mural on the building on the corner of Greenpoint and Manhattan Avenue. Completed in late October, painted by Swedish artist Ola Kalnins, the mural covers the entire building facade at 903 Manhattan Ave, which is owned by Peter Kirchhausen.
In a neighborhood that seems to be more and more inundated with advertising (hand-painted or otherwise), it’s damn refreshing to see some art for arts sake.
Funded by the Consulate General of Sweden, the creation of this beautiful mural is documented in this short film. Enjoy!
This open call exhibition is curated by Shawn James and tonight’s selected Best in Show artist wins $200 and a solo exhibition. This show is one night only, across two floors of the gallery, and features a lineup of local bands and musicians including Joe Krzyzewski, Jim Saint-Amour, Hanford Reach, Hoag & the Weasel, Castle Black.
Guy Nelson is a Midwesterner, who grew up surrounded by nature. For this reason, he doesn’t romanticize the natural world as a place of transcendence, but sees it as a familiar environment that functions as a kind of Rorschach test; the longer you stare and wonder, the more your mind makes of the twisting branches in the long shadows of a late fall day.
From this close attention, Nelson has created a world of blurred demons and shadowy creatures, myths that emanate from the mouths of old hunters, whether to scare children or just to keep their minds busy while waiting in the brush. Myths in his work speak to a greater truth of the natural world; it is a place both unsentimental and mysterious, where life and death pass with very little care for human context. There is a grim undertone to Nelson’s oft-repeated motifs that, like their subject, tantalizingly suggest meaning before disappearing through the trees like a morning’s mist.
Saturday, December 2nd, Byron Westbrook premieres Interval/Forum, his third and final piece as a 2017 ISSUE Artist-In-Residence. The work completes a series of conceptual environments that collaborate with audience perception and participation, making use of the theatrical setting of Irondale Arts Center to focus and expand the perception of audience presence as a dynamic performance element.
The piece experiments with an audience situated in a large stage setting that contains sound design and periodic lighting changes. The installation-as-performance environment incorporates the filmic cut and fade techniques of coordinated light and sound framing gestures used in Interval/Habitat (at ISSUE’s 22 Boerum Theater in April, 2017), while utilizing the color washes and audience illumination explored in Threshold Variations (at Abrons Art Center in September, 2017). The cohesion between these techniques aims to shift the social orientation of space dynamically between levels of “incidental” and “focused.” Sound is approached as architectural, using found sound, sound effects, white noise and contemporary music to create illusory audio design in the space, functioning in conjunction with technical lighting.
The piece places an emphasis on both visual and social “afterimages” where there is a cognitive and collective response to abrupt scene changes, allowing room for emergent audience response to the unpredictability of the environment.
The performance-as-installation runs from 8 to 10pm. Attendees are encouraged to arrive at any time during the duration of the piece, as well as move throughout the space, enter, and exit freely.
Event listings submissions may be sent to Art [at] Greenpointers.com
Of course, many local artists will be participating and exhibiting. Be sure to catch these Brooklyn-based artists at The Other Art Fair!
Andrea Packard (b. 1984), a fine artist who specializes in portraits and figurative oil paintings from life, was born and raised in Excelsior, Minnesota. She received a BA in Studio Art and Psychology from Connecticut College and additional instruction from The Art Students League of New York, Chelsea Classical Studio and Academia Taure (Barcelona, Spain). She has lived and worked in Chicago and Barcelona and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
The Other Art Fair returns for its second US edition to Greenpoint’s own Brooklyn Expo Center (72 Noble St) this week on November 9-12. Presented by Saatchi Art, the fair showcases work by 120 talented emerging artists from Brooklyn and beyond, each hand picked by a committee of art world experts.
Art lovers can visit the fair with confidence that they are buying from the very best and most promising emerging artists in a unique and immersive experience. With artwork prices starting at just $75 there is something for everyone! Alongside the exhibiting artists, visitors can discover exciting an unusual features including live hand poked tattoos by Brooklyn’s Bluestone Babe, The Guardian virtual reality, an engaging talks program by Saatchi Art and a hidden secret bar…