John Eric Byers & Dinorá Justice Press Release

John Eric Byers: Touch
Dinorá Justice: Come to Me She Said
March 1 – 30 at Gallery NAGA

Gallery NAGA begins March with our first solo exhibition of paintings by Brazilian-born Dinorá Justice and the seventh solo exhibition of furniture by John Eric Byers. 

John Eric Byers: Touch and Dinorá Justice: Come to Me She Said are on exhibit from March 1st through March 30th. A reception for the artists and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, March 1st from 6 to 8 pm.

John Eric Byers   Touch

John Eric Byers, now in his late fifties, is the most lauded studio furniture maker of his generation and also perhaps the most active. Focusing his energy on his studio and choosing not to teach, Byers has produced scores of private commissions and has had twenty-five solo exhibitions between 1991 and 2018, including a mid-career retrospective in 2004 at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts.

The newest works are both calm and intense – precise, minimalist forms whose surfaces shimmer with the varying tones and light revealed and reflected by the hundreds upon hundreds of scored lines on every face.  This exhibition shows a departure from Byers’ vigorous divoted patterns and presents a new scoring technique that appears varied and organic. He continues his use of self-contained, pure shapes creating a sleek, sexy, contemporary aesthetic.

Like Byer’s past work, the finishes are matte and restrained. This exhibition features only a dazzling, graphite-black and a crisp white color.

John Eric Byers’ work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Arts & Design, New York; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC; New Britain Museum of Art, Connecticut; and several other museums. John is the recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and two New York Foundation of the Arts Awards.

Dinorá Justice   Come to Me She Said

 Exhibiting for the first time at Gallery NAGA is Brazilian-born painter Dinorá Justice. Justice graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2014 and since then has been refining her painting techniques.

Justice begins her process by hand-marbling areas directly onto her canvas. This marbled area, full of swirling, intricate patterns, becomes the jumping off point for her composition. Justice’s figures set in landscapes are all based on paintings done by men. The historical paintings pose the women nude and objectified; Justice, however, transforms them through her use of pattern and color. The female figure becomes an object of power, no longer just one of desire.

Her newest body of work and the work to be shown at NAGA centers around her Odalisque series. In Justice’s artist statement, she writes,

The Odalisque paintings are an ongoing body of work I started in late 2016, which address conscious and unconscious biases regarding traditional associations of nature with the feminine. The linguistic tradition of the expression Mother Nature feminizes the environment, and gives our patriarchal system permission to extend its logic of subjugation and exploitation to nature, with the disastrous results that are pushing us to the brink of climate catastrophe. In this project I work with iconic female figures of the Western canon by painters such as Matisse and Ingres, from a period in their careers in which they explored a fascination with the exotic Middle East through paintings of odalisques, who were quasi-slave women kept in seclusion. In my paintings I substitute trees, plants and flowers for drapery and furniture, forcing a visual relocation of the female form from the realm of the intimate to that of the universal.

Justice was the recipient of the St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Grant in 2015, the finalist for the Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in Painting in 2018, and is currently the Scattergood-Moore Artist-in-Residence at Dana Hall Art Gallery in Wellesley, MA. Justice was also included in the exhibition, Fantastical, Political, at the Fitchburg Art Museum in 2018.