It required patience and conversation to broker a resolution regarding this month’s exhibition. Sometimes that meant stepping back, reviewing the path so far, so that the next connections could be found and the overall vision once again became clear. The mood, theme and timing to this exhibition eventually coalesced after a bit of careful review and meditation on the works involved. I’d like to share these findings with you, should you be so receptively inclined, please read on.
On view through the inherently contemplative month of January, there are a variety of works at the Alternative Art Space Gallery. Artist in Residence, Fernando DeOliveira, delivers a slower, dreamier collection of paintings in conversation with the optimistic and intimate photography and prints of Corinne DiPietro where both are anchored by the modest though potent sculpture of John Roy. It’s an Art Trifecta.
It is debated (though generally accepted) that this period of time of the year came to be called January by way of the ancient Roman Julian calendar, as the month honoring Janus, a god with one body, one head, but two faces, one looking forward, and the other back. This is a god of beginnings and ends, of thresholds, liminality, a breakpoint from potential to kinetic- dual and yet complete. Janus presides over transitions, changes, in terms of space where He could be seen on doorways, gates, posts, but also times of war to times of peace. It is His presiding over beginnings and ends that had His month as the initiator of the Julian calendar.
Introspection, reflection, review, and allocating so as to make it through the remainder of the leaner winters can come too easily in these cold months. This same somber pensiveness comes through in the pieces for this Invitational. Working to present within a month named after an arguably neglected (though appreciatively honest) two-faced god it’s an easy choice to see the reason for the inclusion of DeOliveira’s diptychs.
These are complementary and contemplative; consider how one balances the other in their structured duality, where they are complete together. The eye and aesthetic enjoy the solidness of two, the stability of a pair, where two paintings, companions, they can prevail. Consider which might be looking forward, ahead to the future, and the other, is it honoring the present or mulling over the past?
The content of DeOliveira’s paintings, reminiscent of skyscapes with their nebulous abstractions remind of the shift of time, from overcast nights with the cities lights reflected from below to victorious iridescence of a clear winter’s rosy fingered dawn. The teasing of paradox is present nonetheless where the effervescent and fourth dimensionality of time passing is captured by the permanent mark making committed to a singular plane of two directions. So yes Pablo, yet again: “Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand” (Picasso, 1923).
Understanding how a system works in its many forms and functions is a piece of wisdom, it’s an earned gift to the mindful self. This thoughtfulness leaps immediately through the moments captured by DiPietro. Here the artist’s images honor the ebb and flow of life, where the artist (and thus viewer) are reminded of their undeniable connectivity to the natural world, and it’s own intrinsic rhythmic cycles. Brazen fertility bursts forth in sharp contrast to the fallow potential of hibernating limbs, strong and resolute, yet bare and torpid. A single twig rests delicately on the nape of a neck, an intimate placement. A humble loving-kindness plays out in this elegant, haunting image- submission is conveyed by the hand grasping forward the hair, the head and form bowed down, the nape anointed with a simple, curving and budding twig. Phenomenology abounds where a subjectivity honors itself and the loci of it’s experiences.
Action. Reaction. Impulse. Consequences. Size and simplicity belie the power and truth encapsulated in the sculptures and works of John R. Roy. A cup crushed, a glass shattered could potentially be repaired, but never will it be the vessel it once was. These are pieces post- transition, of literal marked coded consumption. They remind of a wild adolescence and thus explore the expense of consequences. A memory can never be unmade once drawn. A childhood cannot be erased. These pieces speak to taciturn and hesitant histories, of rumors circulated among friends and family about just what happened last Friday night at the Joneses. Pre-portioned single-serve forms broken and set are all too eager to level with you, to let you know exactly how it happened, of what’s simmering just below that bright but thin veneer.
There is a kind of responsibility that accompanies acquired knowledge, often best mulled over, reflected upon, slowly explored. Is it passed along? Is it applied? Is it anabalized or catabolized?- That’s up to you. Conveniently, January is the perfect time for just this. With a whole year to look back on, part and parcel of a whole life thus far to draw upon, what comes next? Where do you go now? This suspense is terrible, here’s to hoping it lasts.
Cheers, and see you at Friday's opening.