Saturday, July 16, 2011

Text, Characters, and Fonts of Wisdom

440 Gallery is currently hosting their annual juried theme show this month. The theme this year is "Text" and there was a lively opening reception on the evening of June 30.  Dan McDonald was the roving photographer and caught some of the artists in front of their work.  
The juror this year is Susan Fleminger, artist, educator, curator and Deputy Director for Visual Arts and Arts-in-Education at the Abrons Arts Center ofHenry Street Settlement.
Dan M. caught Susan, Gallery member Gail Flanery (in summer polka dots) and Aleksander Betko in a lighthearted moment.  
Betko is the artist whose painting of a guitarist against a wall of backstage graffiti hangs in the center of the exhibition.

Na'eem Douglas stands before his monolithic triptych "Brooklyn Love" with stenciled text that includes iconic Brooklyn neighborhoods.  440 is a small gallery and this piece fills the back wall with a dramatic grid of black, white and red. 

Minjoo Lee  smiles before her video from 2008, Untitled II
Untitled II from Minjoo Lee on Vimeo.

John Kesling's drawing "Mickey's Wish" made me laugh out loud.  A pig-like elephanty creature with the smiling head of Mickey Mouse prances through a landscape with plaid grass and a smiley face sun.  The speech balloon (it is a text show after all ) proclaims "I will murder you if you grow up" which  I find to be a profound discourse regarding all that is Disney: from the bloated expansion of the copyright laws to protect the corporate elephantine mouse to the whole infantile fetish thing suggested by a Disney Honeymoon 
Miriam Schaer's hand embroidered baby dress was arresting. It is the childless woman who is considered cold and odd From the Series Baby (not) on board: the final Prejudice. Using  traditional womanly skills to mark this batiste gown in scarlet letters, the artist quietly levels an accusation that strikes home in this stroller clogged neighborhood.
 I will close with an image of a new little black and white quilt that signifies 440 Gallery.  This remarkable digital text is our name and place in the magical universe of surf and fun.  Click with your appy little Calderish mobile device and it opens the door to home: