May 142024

A large heart hangs in netting below the skeleton of a mysterious creature in one of Joy Curtis’s sculptures for Night Hike and Ocean Grandma at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery.  As you walk around the sculptures you are invited to invent the story behind them. Titles like Ocean Grandma, Sympathetic/ Parasympathetic, and Future Organs, and Night Hike (Epiphytes) provide clues.

Throughout the run of the exhibition, performers activated several of the smaller wearable sculptures. These performances are currently on view on the  gallery’s website and Instagram.

From the press release-

Joy Curtis’s new show of immersive textile sculptures takes on a folkloric quality, addressing ideas of evolution, environmental history, continuity, and change. Curtis sculpts with fabrics dyed to align with multiple historical traditions. These soft materials are quilted and sewn onto wire armatures, assembled to imply animal and plant forms, yet veering into abstraction.

Roots, vertebrae, leaves, and organs drape from figurative or animaloid fabric structures, creating canopies with an ambiguous narrative. Curtis hand-dyes her cloth using techniques inspired by Nigerian (Yoruba) Adire and Japanese Shibori processes, employing natural hues such as amber, ochre, iron, and indigo. Some pieces incorporate synthetic elements, such as reflective discs sewn into the works, causing visual sparks or glimmers amidst the more subdued textiles. The mixture of materials creates rich textures, as well as both reflective and absorbent variations in the light.

Some sculptures are large and hang dramatically from the ceiling, allowing the viewer to walk underneath and between them. A series of smaller works hang on the walls, actively wearable as garments. When dressed on individuals, these sculptures transform the wearer into an extension of Curtis’s formal style.

Mar 222023

Erika Ranee, “Nacre”, 2023

Erika Ranee, “Nacre”, 2023 (detail)

Erika Ranee, “You Go First”, 2023

Erika Ranee, “You Go First”, 2023 (detail)

Erika Ranee, “You Go First”, 2023 (detail)

The paintings by Erika Ranee, part of her exhibition, All Natural at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, are densely constructed and require a closer look to truly appreciate the work it took to create the intense final products.

From the press release-

Ranee takes inspiration from the world all around her; a crosstown bus ride might reveal pops of color in a passenger’s bright blue IKEA bag seen against municipal orange plastic seats. A bucket of “Purple Dark” acrylic, discontinued by Guerra Paints but gifted to the artist, might bring to mind dahlias and peonies, her favorite flowers. All Natural refers to Ranee’s time spent between NYC and rural Western Massachusetts, and an ongoing fascination with both the fertile, natural world of the countryside and a – no-less fecund  – urbanized terrain shaped by its human inhabitants. The title also obliquely refers to drawings Ranee made of her niece’s braided hair extensions, some of which have been collaged into her paintings’ surfaces, fomenting another set of layered meaning to the works.

Ranee employs a wide variety of painting techniques to create her abstractions. Image and surface are developed through wide-ranging and multitudinous applications and removals of material in dense layers. Wide swaths of color are poured, allowing multi-directional deltas that show the influence of gravity and entropy. Lustrous, glossy paints sit under or beside bubbling and crackled powdery pigments on the canvas. Elements are collaged from sources including blacklight posters, coloring book pages, found children’s drawings and spray-stenciled botanical matter. In places, cut scraps of other paintings are glued onto her raucous surfaces then painted over, cut up, torn out and painted again. Some layers include ink drawings on newsprint shellacked or encased in gel mediums, then incised and peeled to reveal hidden forms underneath. Patterns resembling electric Lichtenberg formations are made through spray paint expelled directly into wet shellac. The result is a body of work that invites us to look closely, examine details, and wonder at its making, all while reveling in the lush colors and forms that ebb and flow before us.

This exhibition closes 3/25/23.