April 26 - May 27, 2018 ● Opening Reception: Friday, April 27, 6 - 8 PM
Brooklyn, NY – 440 Gallery is pleased to present Dark Matter, new work by Ellen Chuse, a painter whose explorations of organic forms in nature and saturated color have been shown extensively in Brooklyn and beyond. This show is a collection of abstract acrylic paintings on paper - some very large and others quite small. Many are hung unframed to emphasize the tactile quality of the paper itself and allowing the viewer to engage more intimately with the layered color.
Many questions arise for the viewer in Dark Matter. What am I looking at? Is it a form or a void? How can a form that seems heavy appear to float? How can forms which initially appear black be filled with color? Where are we? Ambiguity of scale and place are central to her work. The answers lie within.
Emerging from Chuse’s sense of desolation after the 2016 election, these paintings gradually evolved from feelings of anger and despair into meditations on form and color. Forms which have been part of her visual vocabulary for decades are here pared down to their essence. Even in their simplicity there is a dance - forms pushed together or held apart by invisible forces while floating on fields of saturated color. As always, Chuse wants viewers to bring personal associations and experiences to each piece. These paintings can feel ominous or playful depending on the mood of the viewer.
"Dark Matter on a Red Field" expands to fill 9 feet of wall with a series of dark forms dancing dynamically with one another while "Hover: Blue," a later painting with two quieter forms, feels meditative - almost somber. These are powerful paintings which engage the patient viewer on many levels. Exploring the emotional resonance of color is as important to the artist as the images she employs.
In the Project Space: New Work from Bendheim, Epstein and Makon
Fred Bendheim is showing a series of new tondos, collages and cutouts on paper. His Tondo series is loosely based upon Rafael’s circular format in painting “Alba Madonna.” Tondo is a Renaissance term and is derived from the Italian rotondo, “round.” Fred’s Tondo painting is abstract and has three main shapes/protagonists: a spiral-shape that is reminiscent of sun motifs found in Native American iconography, a cloud shape, and a jagged-edged geometric creation on top. These three shapes and their associated attributes interact in ways that recall Rafael’s characters.
Shanee Epstein says, "I am continuing to work with varying surfaces, small objects and handmade papers—some of which are very meaningful to me, some are more playful. My new pieces emphasize irregular edges that are not confined to standard rectangular lines. I am also exploring a rediscovered joy of sewing, and I have found that a sewing machine has become a great way to put together multiple pieces and layers of materials. I like the tactile effect of the stitching on the surface of the work. There is simplicity and dynamic rhythm that is created when smaller, puzzle-like pieces fit together to make a larger complex whole.” Shanee’s work is collage with photographs, hand made papers, fabric, pieces of existing paintings, paint, graphite, and sewing.
“Until nor’easter #4, there wasn’t enough snow,” says watercolorist Joy Makon about the winter of 2018. Nevertheless, Joy found enough inspiration in the chilly days in her studio to produce a series of paintings based upon walks in the snow. “These paintings are about the shimmering joy of pattern that I observe in the winter landscape. It never grows old for me and I always see something new to bring to the paper with lots of water and paint.”