Last week, Garis & Hahn gallery in NYC opened Surface Tension, a group exhibition showcasing breakout female artists Lala Abaddon, Jamie Powell, Sarah Sieradzki and Rachael Wren. These images masterfully toy with the viewer’s sense of space and depth. Perception is continually warped, but never predictably.
Co-owner of the gallery, Mary Garis explains “Surface Tension deals with using different mediums to create trompe l’oeil and optical effects on the surface of the art work, and many of the surfaces themselves employ or recall weaving and fabrics. I think it is evident that the artists in the show are women but in a subtle way.”
Brooklyn-based artist Lala Abaddon deconstructs large-format photos into hundreds of strips and hand weaves them together to create striking mixed media work. Viewers are left with an image that is reminiscent of traditional tapestry, with only a hint of the original image.
Jamie Powell’s work goes beyond the insinuation of depth and dives into three-dimensionality by layering canvas, fabric and other materials. With strips of material hanging off canvases, Powell’s work begins in the tradition of two-dimensional work while also branching out into sculpture.
Sarah Sieradzki pairs her trompe l’oeil paintings with photographs. Viewers are invited to enter into a dialogue between the spatial illusions created with acrylic paint and the stark reality photography presents.
Finally, Rachel Wren’s large-scale paintings use geometric and pointillist precision to create architectural depth. Wren portrays sharp corners and edges while simultaneously allowing place and location to remain totally ambiguous.
Downstairs at the gallery there is also an exhibition of The Feminist Calendar 2016, a series of 24 photos by Andrea Mary Marshall. These works are very confrontational feminist commentary on the exclusive Pirelli Calendar, which has been featuring hyper-sexualized images of the world’s “most beautiful” women since 1964. Marshall’s collection features images of women in their natural state that confront images of women in fetishized poses.
Of the decision to show the two shows simultaneously Garis explains it was “less of a curatorial decision and had more to do with serendipitous timing. It wasn’t a conscious decision to have only women showing in the gallery this month, but it worked out really well — the exhibitions play off of each other in a unique way […] Being two female gallery owners, Sophie Hahn and I are very proud and pleased to be displaying all female artists this month.”
Surface Tensions and The Feminist Calendar 2016 will be on view until November 14th at Garis & Hahn downtown. All the ladies included are local pioneers of unique media and artistic techniques, so click on their hyperlinked names above to learn more.