News & Events
In Search of the Miraculous
October 23—December 20, 2014
Curated by Lexi Lee Sullivan
One night in 1973 Bas Jan Ader went looking for miracles in Hollywood’s Hills. Armed with a flashlight, the late Dutch artist searched highways, fields, and alleys for meaning. The photographs that document his wanderings reflect an earnest search for the extraordinary in the everyday, and the melancholic futility of this quest. In Search of the Miraculous takes its title and conceptual starting point from Ader’s nocturnal ramble to present six artists who similarly use photography in pursuit of the mysterious, the otherworldly, the spectacular.
There is something mystical and even magical about photography, whether it is when images float to the surface in trays in the darkroom, or when what is invisible to the naked eye appears through the lens, or how time can seemingly be frozen by a shutter click. In Barbara Bosworth’s portraits of natural wonderment, David Maisel’s x-rays, Abelardo Morell’s magical interiors, David Prifti’s relics, Peter Gruner Shellenberger’s light studies, and Suara Welitoff’s elegiac videos there is a shared search for the place where the spiritual and the everyday collapse into a visual poetry. Shown together these photographs and videos continue Ader’s hunt through visual journeys that are as much about inner searches as they are about physical phenomena.
— Lexi Lee Sullivan
More information here.
October 10 – November 8, 2014 at Gallery NAGA
Gallery NAGA is pleased to present our first major solo exhibition of paintings by Nicole Chesney, whose work is currently featured in a show at the Museum of Fine Arts, Landscape Abstracted.
Nicole Chesney: Mirari is on exhibition from October 10 to November 8. A reception for the artist and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, October 10 from 6 to 8 pm.
Chesney is an abstract painter who uses flat sheets of glass as her surface. She began her non-traditional work with glass after having studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts, the Massachusetts College of Art and finally the Canberra School of Art at Australia National University. Never interested in sculpting glass, Chesney used the medium as a jumping off point for her paintings. After taking classes in jewelry and print-making, she explored the material of glass for its ability to manipulate light. “I didn’t study painting,” says Chesney. “Like jewelry, my love affair with glass has to do with [its] precious, desirous qualities that really boil down to light.”
In a 2014 issue of Glass Quarterly, Leah Triplett writes about Chesney. “Her glass works are gesture-driven tableaus that explore the parameters of perception as well as the relationship of light and darkness to the human eye. She expands this concentration by playing with the psychology of desire as it is manifested in materials, be they diamonds or cut glass.”
The title of Chesney’s show at NAGA is Mirari, a latin word meaning to marvel at or wonder. Glass, with all its transformative qualities, is a surface onto which Chesney can add, subtract, and move oil paint around. The difference lies in the reflective quality of glass. Seen from one angle, her painting surfaces are matte and brushy, seen from another angle, they are reflective and elusive. Chesney is loading the surface with paint, then wiping away to reveal the layers beneath. She does this multiple times to create sheer layers. The glass itself is etched so that it has a tooth, or uneven quality that can grab and hold whatever oil is applied.
Chesney’s paintings are divided between saturated, warm tones of purple, peach, and red, and cooler tones of blues, greens and whites. Chesney uses her layers of feathery, light brushstrokes to create smooth gradients from thick to translucent and from light to dark. Her brushstrokes leave traces of circular or criss-crossing paths on the surface of the glass.
Chesney recently completed large commissioned pieces that were installed at 7 World Trade Center in New York and the public space at the new residence hall at Massachusetts College of Art. Leah Triplett, in writing for Glass Quarterly, writes about Chesney’s commissioned work:
“In my work, I’ve deliberately chosen mirrors that have etched surfaces,” explains Chesney. “There’s a lot of metaphor in that for me, about introspection, about not really being able to be objective about who we are.” The “we” that constitutes Chesney’s audience is cut from a wide swath of the public and includes schoolchildren, bankers, construction crews, and elite collectors. No matter their background, the visages of Chesney’s viewers shift with changes in light and perspective, which universalizes her audience as much as it particularizes the individual. These works betray the artist’s hand in their heavily worked surfaces, but beckon the viewer past Chesney’s gesture and into a reflective plane in which the viewer sees themselves as meditated by the gaze of another.
Garry Knox Bennett: Full Circle
October 1 – 31, 2014
American furniture maker, woodworker, and metal artist Garry Knox Bennett has been celebrated for his whimsical and innovative sculptural and functional objects for over 40 years. Garry Knox Bennett: Full Circle marks the California native artist’s 80th birthday this October, highlighting a body of new works made in the spirt of the 1960’s. Inspired by his background as a jeweler and metal plater, the show will feature 50 sculptural roach clips, a popular item sold at the artist’s historic San Francisco shop Squirkenworks almost 4 decades ago. For one time only, Velvet da Vinci turns from gallery to head shop, in honor of Bennett’s important historic and contemporary contributions to the Craft field.
Bennett’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the De Young Museum in San Francisco, the Mint Museum of Arts and Design in Charlotte NC, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Oakland Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Washington DC’s Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery. A graduate of the California College of Arts And Crafts, Bennett was featured in a solo retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City in 2001 and has been the recipient of numerous awards such as the Smithsonian Museum’s Renwick Alliance Award (2011), the Furniture Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2004), the American Craft Council College of Fellows (1996), and the Merit Grant National Endowment for the Arts (1984). The artist has lived and works in Oakland, CA for nearly 40 years.
More information here.
MARY KOCOL: ICE GARDEN
"There is an interesting phenomenon when a loved one passes. Often there are physical talisman’s that are with the person in their last days that become touch stones for memory. For my mother, I plucked gardenias from a bush in my garden and placed them on her pillow, knowing that she loved the fragrance. I never pass that plant without thinking of my mother. For photographer Mary Kocol, it was the flora of her mother’s garden. Her beautifully frozen flowers are a testament to not only her mother’s memory, but to the fragility and beauty of life."
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