“Surfaces” Exhibition


poster for “Surfaces” Exhibition
[Image: Joanne Ungar "Sensodyne 03" (2017) Beeswax, pigment and cardboard on wood panel 9 1/4 x 10 3/4 in.]

This event has ended.

This exhibition brings into conversation the work of five artists: Richard Bottwin, Takuji Hamanaka, Magda DeJose, Andrew Kennedy, and Joanne Ungar. They work in a variety of mediums, both through individual techniques and hybrid applications. These include combinations of collage, ceramics, encaustic, sculpture, printmaking and painting. Their approaches tend to highlight the notion of “surface” while also investigating relationships of color, shape and depth (both literal and perceived).

Richard Bottwin’s sculptures are meant to be viewed on the wall. They tend to be angular, almost architectural forms that use twisted perspectives and layered construction to engage the viewer. The plywood shapes are laminated with wood veneers and accentuated with sections of acrylic color. Their visual sense of weightlessness and movement invite the viewer to explore them, both their upper surface and their partially hidden inner / under sides and even shadows.

Takuji Hamanaka’s collages hint at depth, but in fact are a flat plane surface. They are constructed by first printing Japanese woodcuts on various types of traditional washi art paper. These are then cut into smaller shapes, and then re-assembled on museum board into new, repeating patterns, resulting in a unique collage. The nature of the water-based Japanese ink allows us to enjoy the hum of the paper, while the immaculate arrangements provide a sense of movement and inner-glow for the viewer to become drawn in to.

Magda DeJose’s practice has often oscillated between ceramics, printmaking and hybrid paper / ceramic works. Her ceramic forms are often covered in subtle but luscious layers of handmade glaze. At times, however, they can also be covered with additional encaustic. Her sculptures, then, present a variety of surfaces, sometimes cold and shiny, sometimes warm and soft. They tend to be intimate in scale, with twists and an off-center nature that bend light and shadow, and our eye, around the surfaces.

Andrew Kennedy has worked in many forms, whether they are painting or wood constructions, but here the focus is his ceramic work. Kennedy’s clay sculpture tend to be a combination of minimal color and form. However, often his work is imbued with a gritty tooth, the surface outlined with a jagged line that adds a sense of strength to beauty. Unlike the other artists in the exhibition, his work is a single presentation of multiple forms that are each interpretations of a singular device.

Joanne Ungar’s mixed media works are multi-layered, both physically and philosophically. They are a combination of wax, pigment and cardboard set on wood panels. Because wax is the main medium, each work is translucent to a certain degree. As we peer past the flat surface we see other surfaces: the structure of flattened, painted cardboard boxes, the swirls of pigment now frozen in time, both accentuating the other. The boxes are not random, but instead are the packaging that define the insecurities of our consumer-drowned world. Often we see only the plain interior of the boxes, but they tend to be the cosmetics, medicines and modern snake oils that modern women are convinced they need. If beauty is only skin deep, these are lurk below.

Owen Houhoulis is a curator and Founding Director of Owen James Gallery. Established in 2014, the gallery was initially located in The Pencil Factory building in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and has recently relocated to 59 Wooster Street in SoHo, Manhattan.



from April 20, 2018 to May 18, 2018

Opening Reception on 2018-04-20 from 18:00 to 21:00

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