to May 4

Aglae Bassens: Surface Tension

Palm Sofa.jpg

Aglae Bassens: Surface Tension

NARS Main Gallery
Curated by Eriola Pira
April 6 - May 4
Opening reception April 6, 6-8 PM

The word exotic comes from the Greek exotikos, “foreign,” which in turn comes from the prefix exo, meaning “outside."

Aglaé Bassens is a still life painter whose work about presence and absence is inspired by her uprooted upbringing and her experiences as a foreigner or outsider. Having lived in Belgium, Sweden, England, Turkey and now in America, Bassens’ paintings reflect on how everyday objects and images can look strange from unusual perspectives, both literally and culturally. Views are skewed, things are seen from behind glass, paintings masquerade as wallpaper, things are not as they first appear: even the ordinary can be fascinating when presented in a new context.

In Surface Tension Bassens returns to the motif of the palm tree which has inspired her for some time. Symbolic of exoticism and travel, but also overused and generic, they perform as a happy/sad motif that celebrates the sameness and difference as each tree becomes interchangeable for another.

Repeated over everything from sofas to wallpaper and shirts, the palm trees lose their exoticism and become a mantra to banality. Despite the cheerful palette of the paintings, the sofas remain empty, the interiors unpopulated, and the shirts hang unworn and loose.

Under the guise of paper, fabric or crochet, the shape-shifting palm trees become at once images and objects, and ultimately celebrate the transformative nature of paint. This playful back and forth between materiality and image throughout the exhibition offers a visual reprieve from the underlying tension between the melancholy, faded feel of the paintings, and the relentless, manufactured cheerfulness of palm trees as a motif.

Aglaé Bassens (b. 1986, Belgium) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Solo exhibitions include Surface Tension (Forthcoming, 2018) at NARS Foundation, Brooklyn and Front Parting, Cabin Gallery London (2016). Recent group shows include HEADS, The Java Project, Brooklyn (2017), Contemporary British Painting Prize, London (2016), Biennial Of Painting: The Painter’s Touch, Museum of Deinze, Belgium (2014), PAPER, Saatchi Gallery, London (2013) and Jerwood Drawing Prize, London (2012). Her work is featured in New American Paintings No 134 Northeast Issue, and in 100 Painters of Tomorrowpublished by Thames and Hudson (2014). She has a BA in Fine Art from the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University (2007) and an MFA in Fine Art Painting from the Slade School of Fine Art, London (2011).

View Event →
to Feb 23

New Monuments for a Better Tomorrow, pt I


New Monuments for a Better Tomorrow, pt I
Curated by: Jesse Bandler Firestone

January 26 - February 23
Opening reception January 26, 6-8

New Monuments for a Better Tomorrow brings together seven artists and their proposals for new public works. These new works are not shown as pristine 3D renderings, but are instead exhibited as artworks that utilize a range of techniques and mediums to convey their ideas to the viewer. By treating each artwork as a stand-in for an unrealized monument, the viewer is asked to use their imagination and complete the image of each proposed work. In turn, the exhibition creates a scenario where the viewer must actively imagine multiple worlds where these monuments can exist within and thus impresses the importance of collective participation in manifesting alternative realities.

All together, these artworks look critically at the commemorative qualities of monuments and take aim at the shortcomings of historical public works that do not reflect a contemporary consciousness but are emblematic reminders to marginalized groups that we live within a society that does not support victims, queers, or people of color. In turn, a number of these proposals seek to expand the function of a monument by treating public sites as places for collective healing and tools to critically examine whose histories and stories are sanctioned. Similarly, others proposals seek to directly confront social norms and societal standards by embracing taboos and openly examining aspects of capitalism and material culture that are used to justify the subjugation of Earth and the suppression of its people. Ultimately, these works posit a future that is yearned for but has yet to come.

Featuring: Mattia Casalegno, Peter Clough, Whitt Forrester, Catalina Ouyang, Emmaline Payette, Julia Sinelnikova, and Andre Springer.

Jesse Bandler Firestone is a curator currently based in Brooklyn. His projects have been featured in Hyperallergic, Artnet, New York Post while his writings have been published in Sleek and The Brooklyn Rail. Firestone was Trestle Projects Curator in Residence 16-17, Wassaic Visiting Critic (March '17), and a guest critic at RISD (Dec '17). He is currently pursuing his MA in Curatorial Practice at SVA and is interested in how curatorial projects can be used to create temporary spaces where new thoughts and ideas are sustained by art and social interaction.

Emmaline Payette (b. 1987, Boston MA) is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Emmaline’s work is rooted in her academic background in Environmental Anthropology; her installation and experiential-based projects question issues of ecology in the Anthropocene. She creates installations with recycled and living material, engages in bio-remediation through planting projects, and does stick and poke tattooing. She is also the founder of curatorial project ECO AGE. ECO AGE happenings are collaborative projects of art, sound and performance in our future Ecological Age. Emmaline has shown work with Sunday Sessions at MoMA PS1, Trestle Projects and Silent Barn in Brooklyn, and the Feigenbaum Center for Visual Arts at Union College. She attended artist residencies on Governor’s Island in 2017 and at Vermont Studio Center in 2013. She studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Pont-Aven Academy of Contemporary Art with Brown University and RISD in 2010. Emmaline graduated from Union College in 2009 with a BA in Anthropology.

Peter Clough makes performance, sculpture, video and collage that engage queer sexuality and fetish through humor and childhood wonder. Clough's work is insistently personal, celebrating narcissism as a political tool and queer strategy. Clough’s work is rooted in collage, cutting and manipulating images of his own body to create works that exist on the borders of desire and repulsion, sexiness and silliness, pleasure and suffering. Peter Clough was born in Boston in 1984 and received a BA from Grinnell College in 2006 and an MFA from NYU Steinhardt in 2009. Clough has presented work in New York at MoMA PS1, Printed Matter, Fresh Window Gallery, Microscope Gallery, Southfirst Gallery, Wayfarers Gallery, LeRoy Neiman Gallery, SPRING/BREAK Art Fair, the Center for Performance Research, and Dixon Place Theater, in Pittsburg at the Andy Warhol Museum, in L.A. at Human Resources, in Nashville at Open Lot, in Berlin at Peres Projects and Space/Time at FLUTGRABEN e.V., in Seoul at Konkuk University and The House of Collections, in Antwerp at the Monty, in Ghent at Off/off Cinema and in Oslo at Kunstnernes Hus, Fotogalleriet, and SOPPEN Performance Festival at Ekebergparken. Clough’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Frieze, and Time Out magazine. Clough lives and works in Brooklyn.

Whitt Forrester is based in Chicago, IL. They attended Oberlin College for undergrad and receive his MFA in Photography from Columbia College. They have exhibited widely, in both national and international contexts, and have a range of aesthetic interests that include: practices of accumulation, manifestations of power, diaspora, noetic science, new materialisms, discourses around the transcendent and the material relationship between self and world.

Andre Springer is lives and works in New York City His practice spans sculpture, performance, film, activism, and research. He is a collective member of The Dazzle Dancers (PS1, Dietch Projects, Museum of Sex), and HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? (Whitney Bienelle 2014).

Catalina Ouyang is a visual artist and writer. She has had exhibitions with Field Projects (NY), the Millitzer Gallery (St. Louis), Parapet Four Seasons (Los Angeles), Kilroy Metal Ceiling (Brooklyn), the Luminary (St. Louis), Hardesty Arts Center (Tulsa, OK), Granite City Art and Design District (Granite City, IL), Westminster Press (St. Louis) and fort gondo compound for the arts (St. Louis). Her writing has appeared in the Blueshift Journal, River Teeth (2017 Pushcart nomination) and CURA Literary Magazine (2015 CURA Prize). She has attended residencies at the NARS Foundation (Brooklyn), OBRAS (Evoramonte, Portugal) and Atlantic Center for the Arts. Ouyang is pursuing her MFA in Sculpture at Yale.

Mattia Casalegno is an Italian interdisciplinary artist, live-media performer and installation artist working in a broad range of media. His multidisciplinary work is influenced by both post-conceptualism and digital art, and has been defined relational, immersive, and participatory. His practice explores the effects new media have on our societies, investigating the relationships between technology, the objects we create, our subjectivities, and the modes in which these relations unfold into each other.

His work is been exhibited extensively and featured in publications such as “A Touch of Code” ed. Gestalten Books, “New Media Design” ed. Sometti; and “Deleuze and Audiovisual Art”, Manchester Metropolitan University. He is recipient of a Center for Cultural Innovation and a Young Italian Network Grant; winner of Electrowave in 2003 and finalist to the New Technological Art Awards in 2014. In the last year he was artist in residence, among others, at Budafabriek Kunstcentrum in Belgium and Eyebeam, NY

Julia Sinelnikova is an interdisciplinary artist who works with holograms, performance, and digital culture. Her light installations have been exhibited internationally, and she has performed widely as The Oracle of Vector Gallery. She has received commissions from Pace University, Michael Madden (Maroon 5), SELECT Fair, Webster Hall, and Norte Maar. Heavily inspired by electronic music, Sinelnikova has designed sculptural sets for performers including Lee Burridge, Machinedrum, The GZA (Wu Tang Clan), and Aurora Halal. Selected profiles of her work have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, VICE, Artnet, Huffington Post, The Creators Project, PAPER Mag, and The Fader. Her work has been presented at the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, The Oulu Museum of Art, and Williamsburg Art & Historical Center. Sinelnikova has also exhibited site-specific installations for Miami Art Week / Art Basel annually since 2011. She holds a BFA in Sculpture from The Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY). She lives and works in Brooklyn.

View Event →