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.
Catalina Kulczar is the best kind of photographer: selfless. Her portraits illuminate the beauty in others, and her projects — individually crafted and triumphantly executed — are marked by a social justice bent that lets underrepresented voices sing. Her many and diverse photography series have included moving portraits of girls celebrating their quinceañera and portraits, both loving and poignant, of same-sex couples awaiting marriage equality. That last project is the inspiration for a new book she discussed with Greenpointers — a queer-affirming anthology she’s looking to publish with the help of a Kickstarter. We caught up with the local photographer to discuss her passion projects, inspirations, and favorite neighborhood hangouts.
Greenpointers: How long have you lived in Brooklyn?
Catalina Kulczar: I have lived in Brooklyn since 2011 — three years in Fort Greene, then we moved to Greenpoint in summer 2014.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood spot?
I love going to Brooklyn Label. I love how much natural light fills the place year-round, and the staff there is always friendly and welcoming.
Bushwick Open Studios — #BOS2018 — returns this weekend! Though it of course can’t compare to our own neighborhood’s (and Greenpointers-produced) Greenpoint Open Studios earlier this summer, this weekend’s art fest in Bushwick will be a blast of art filled fun and madness. Take a tour of the industrial chic neighborhood we all love and take in some local art while investigating open studios.
Hundreds of Bushwick artists will have their studios open Saturday and Sunday for visitors to meet them and see their work. For the 2018 edition of BOS, Art During the Occupation Gallery is pleased to show SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLE, a painting solo by Sharilyn Neidhardt concerning the rootlessness, alienation, and ultimate freedom of city living in the 21st century.
For a timeline of events, see below, and for more info, visit the BOS site here.
Friday: Launch Party 7–10 PM at 119 Ingraham Street
Art During the Occupation Gallery — in partnership with our friends at Trans-Cen-Der Art Group, Temporary Storage Gallery, and Brooklyn Fire Proof — are throwing an art networking party to mark the LAUNCH of 2018’s Bushwick Open Studios Festival.
Saturday and Sunday: BOS from 12–6 PM (120 Ingraham Street)
Come to the Brooklyn Fire Proof building to take in four floors of local artists! Run by Art During the Occupation Gallery Bushwick — a not for profit contemporary art space showing subversive and difficult work — BOS is an annual event celebrating the multitude of talent and artistic achievement Bushwick has to offer. They delight in serving as a platform for discourse on work that is challenging to authority paradigms, feminist, queer, anti-establishment, hyper-aggressive, mystic, and/or joyously sexual. Our gallery was launched in 2015 by Christopher Stout who serves as gallery founder and director.
Ophelia’s a sough-after gal — flower-bearing maiden, Shakespeare dream role, and subject of countless works of art. Now, Williamsburg gallery Lucas Lucas(57 Conselyea Street) puts a contemporary spin on the classic character in their new exhibit named after Hamlet’s steadfast girlfriend. With aquatic and floral visions expressed in photographs, paintings, and more, Ophelia (I feel ya) offers artists and spectators myriad ways to experience and contextualize this ill-fated but beloved character. Plus, the works are all by women!
Take a look at some pieces below, and stop by the gallery before the exhibit closes on October 7. Or visit here to support and purchase local art.
Nudity is a theme no stranger to the artist. As Greenpoint Terminal Gallery states, “The nude is our most essentialized form. It is us at our most vulnerable, without emblematic costume signifying class, culture, or personality. In our nakedness, we lose signifiers of our hierarchies and become our animal selves — natural, innocent, without pretense.”
To see such art on full display, visit the gallery on 67 West Street (Suite 320) from September 7–15 and October 6–20 to experience SKINS, the gallery’s latest exhibit. SKINS is, per the gallery, “a celebration of the body, in its pure, natural vulnerability and beauty. It is also a reminder that we are always both separate and whole.”
An opening reception will be held this Friday from 7–10 PM. For a full roster of participating local artists, see below!
Heather Benjamin Mark Ryan Chariker Madeline Donahue Jenna Gribbon Kate Klingbeil Katarina Janeckova Haley Josephs Irena Jurek Doron Lanberg Sophia Narrett Jenny Morgan Rebecca Morgan Emilia Olsen Danielle Orchard Erin Riley Leonard Reibstein Emma Stern Margaux Valengin Kyle Vu-Dunn Lily Wong
From frozen treats made with upcycled plant based materials, custom handcrafted guitars, ethereal essential oil blends, to tiny terrarium jewelry, and more, we can’t wait to showcase the high quality unique creations by our top 20 curated pick of local makers.
Formerly a rubber factory, BIBA has the vintage charm we adore and is now home to the only beer garden in Williamsburg with unobstructed waterfront views of the Manhattan skyline. Right next door in the East River State Park, TASTE Williamsburg Greenpoint will return with over 40 restaurants and bars for a foodie extravaganza. With a star-studded lineup including food by Michelin-starred chefs, a ticket will get you unlimited tastings of some of the best local flavors! Continue reading →
Revel in this, Greenpointers: the first new sculpture McGolrick Park has seen in decades will be unveiled on Saturday.
Ziemia: Our Stories Are Written in Soil is a public art installation by New York-based Polish artist Martynka Wawrzyniak that reflects on the history of our jewel box neighborhood. Greenpoint is a melting pot of families of diverse backgrounds, holding significant cultural ties to Poland with the long-standing Polish diaspora situated in the neighborhood. In honor of the centennial celebration of Poland’s independence being restored, Ziemia is presented thanks to the support and collaboration of the Polish Cultural Institute New York as a multidisciplinary public art project opening from 2–5 PM on Saturday, June 9 with a wide range of activities. Visitors are invited to a family-friendly environment to appreciate the artwork, enjoy live music, educational workshops, and Polish snacks. There will even be a chance to win a trip to Poland by participating in the Sto Lat Polska project!
Originally farmland, Greenpoint’s verdant name is an homage to pastures past. But even as trees have disappeared and skyscrapers have risen, local artist Sharon Ascher has had a keen eye for Brooklyn’s organically occurring patterns and nature’s geometric wonders. These terrestrial gifts influence her work, which will be on display in this weekend’s Greenpoint Open Studios. See her work in person at 80 Oak Street from 12pm-6pm this Saturday & Sunday (June 2 & 3), and learn more about her craft in this week’s Thursday Spotlight!
Greenpointers: It seems that much of your work is inspired by nature, yet you’ve lived in New York for decades. Can you discuss the influence the natural world has on your work within our urban epicenter?
Sharon Ascher: I was born in Brooklyn — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: it only takes one tree to observe and experience the changing colors of the seasons. I grew up near Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and received my my BFA at Pratt. I traveled extensively, crossing the vast ocean, visiting beaches, and trekking mountains and caverns. I became more aware of the changing contours of our coastline caused by global warming.
I have been intrigued with organic shapes and textures and how they are affected by shadow, color, and light. I realized that the same forms are infinitely repeating themselves. This apparent phenomenon is often incorporated into my work. If we allow our minds to be open, our perceptions can change constantly; similar to the clouds as they dance in the the sky or the waves move in the ocean. This is all part of working with energy and its relationship to space.
This continual thread is interdependency: the simple quality of a brush stroke or a tear in paper. There seems to be a connection with the shapes that occur, and the reflections of the inner and outer landscapes. Continue reading →
Ann Cofta finds details in the small: she sews her embroidered art entirely by hand, a slow and deliberate process that allows her to map out the entirety of a Brooklyn water tower or bridge in one small fabric. As a long-time New Yorker, she’s had years to soak in these architecture’s details and dispense them in her work. Ann is also no stranger to local art shows — she’ll be featured at Greenpoint Open Studios come June 2–3 — and below she shares her experience traveling the world, translating cityscapes into fabric, and finding an embroidery community in Brooklyn.
Greenpointers: How long have you lived in New York? Do you work or live in the neighborhood?
Ann Cofta: I’ve lived in New York for 22 years; I live nearby in Woodside (Queens), so I am able to walk to my art studio in Greenpoint. I taught in Brooklyn for 16 years and only recently took a job in Manhattan.
GP: We don’t come across many embroiderers as our local artists; I wonder if you’ve found a community of those artists here?
AC: When there are open studios, exhibits, or other art events, I always seek out artists who work with fabric and embroidery. I am energized by the innovative work I see. I feel as though textile work is becoming a greater presence in the art world, in both galleries and museums. I am not aware of an established community of embroiderers in Brooklyn. However, Brooklyn Craft Company in Greenpoint, and the Textile Art Center in Gowanus, both offer classes. I recently joined the Textile Study Group of New York, which is a national organization that hosts monthly talks and occasional group shows. Continue reading →