Often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream. – Aristotle, “On Dreams”
The territory between wakefulness and the dream state is one widely traversed by artists. Lucid dreaming, a phenomenon in which an individual is aware of their own dream state enough to attempt control within it, is a cannily apt comparison to the creation of art. Possessing the ability to give form to fleeting memories and semi-lucid moments, artists can call into question the very perception of reality at will and offer up alternatives of their own.
Curators Diana Corvelle, Cara DeAngelis and Tun Myaing have collected the works of twenty-four New York Academy of Art alumni whose work challenges, unhinges and altogether shifts perception of what should be called a “real” experience. From the elegantly surreal to the deftly tactile, these selected works speak to the endless possible deviations from reality as envisioned by an unfettered mind.
The playfulness and confidence of these works show how completely at home the artists are in their alternate reality. The life-size newspaper sculptures of Will Kurtz manage to be unnervingly lifelike in gesture and form, despite the constant and unapologetic reminders of his artistic process splashed in newsprint across the surface of each piece. Gregory Tomezsko’s paintings whip the viewer between flatness and volume, realism and stylization, all within the same composition. Shangkai Kevin Yu picks and chooses which painted subjects will be subordinate to the laws of gravity. Megan Ewart and Amanda Scuglia hint at the disarming possibility of concurrent realities playing out through overlapping movements and tumbling figures.
Many of the artists vacillate easily between levels of abstraction and realism. Even the technical feat of Angela Gram’s The Herd creates a camouflage pattern of sorts out of the detailed bodies of man and beast alike. Ilsa Brittain allows delicately wrought marks to emerge from a field of texture in her piece Long Ago. Yungsung Jang’s masterful portraits are comprised of a veritable topographical map of layered oil paint, giving a physical depth to mirror the emotional depth the portraits evoke, just as Michelle Doll’s soft brushstrokes both reveal and veil the connection of a couple’s embrace. Nicolas Sanchez’s depictions of remembered experiences vibrate with layered colors, mark-making and personal landmarks.
Like the lucid dreamers of Aristotle, these artists have found a way to wrest control from their unruly subconscious to create works of unnatural beauty and depth from within it. Releasing themselves from the laws of nature and reason, their work touches something closer to reality than simply reality itself.
Join us for the opening on October 16th from 6-9pm at Panepinto Galleries located at 371 Warren Street in Jersey City, NJ. The gallery is easily accessible by public transportation using your Metrocard: Take the NJ PATH train to Journal Square and exit at the Grove Street stop. The gallery is a few blocks from Grove Street.
Participating artists: Charis C. Braun, Ilsa Brittain, Michelle Doll, Samuel Evensen, Megan Ewert, Shauna Finn, Steve Forster, Angela Gram, Brett F. Harvey, Caitlin Hurd, Yun Sung Jang, Evan Kitson, Will Kurtz, James Linkous, Guno Park, David Pettibone, Martin Saar, Nicolas V. Sanchez, Amanda Scuglia, Jesse Stern, Gregory Tomezsko, Tyler Vouros, Melanie Vote and Shangkai Kevin Yu.