July 20 - August 25, 2019
Private Collection was a summer group exhibition I curated for the gallery. In contrast to group shows of previous years that had an open call for artists, this exhibition was developed with a theme and cast of artists in mind. It includes one gallery artist, Stephen D’Onofrio, and four other artists that I personally invited.
Artists: Stephen D’Onofrio, Rachel Grobstein, Paho Mann, Lori Larusso, B. Chehayeb
Galleri Urbane is delighted to present the gallery’s summer group exhibition, titled Private Collection. Curated by Director of Exhibitions Adrian Zuniga and situated across the gallery’s two main exhibition spaces, Private Collection considers the act of collecting and its accompanying personal and social implications. Including represented artist Stephen D’Onofrio and visiting artists B. Chehayeb, Paho Mann, Lori Larusso, and Rachel Grobstein, the exhibition acknowledges that the objects and experiences we collect can serve as reflections of ourselves and society at large. Through a variety of approaches, each artist addresses a unique mode of collecting, exploring both personal and shared cultural phenomena that are relevant to contemporary life.
Stephen D’Onofrio’s work most directly addresses the act of collecting associated with the modern art market. A number of newly-produced canvases take interest in the Still Life genre of painting and its trajectory from 17th-century Dutch Masters to assembly-line production in today’s consumer-driven economy. D’Onofrio’s own meticulously painted still life canvases mimic and exaggerate the tropes of present-day commercial design and its highly curated formalism, highlighting the shifting nature of collectable art objects in a mass-produced world. Paho Mann’s series of archival pigment prints are produced using low-grade 3D scanning technology to scan a variety of personal objects, including a collection of historic stereoscopic cameras. The consumer-quality technology provides an exploded version of these objects, with each exploded camera becoming a metaphor for the constant transition of photographic technology and the use of new technologies to comment on increasingly obsolete formats of image making. Overall, Mann considers the role played by emerging technologies in shaping the way we “observe and make meaning from mass-produced objects and personal keepsakes.”
Objects collected to define the domestic setting are found in Lori Larusso’s shaped paintings. Painted images depict cut-outs of objects found in domestic scenes, from kitchen counters to mailboxes, and become graphic depictions of bourgeoise domesticity as fantasy. Larusso is inspired by the idealized spreads in mid-century publications, like Good Housekeeping, and draws connections to contemporary versions of curated domesticity on platforms like Instagram. Her paintings invite us to consider the link between the domestic objects we surround ourselves with and aspirations for perfection, especially as it pertains to women. Also utilizing objects collected in the home, Rachel Grobstein’s Bedside Tables series includes detailed miniature recreations of the objects that inhabit people’s nightstands. The recreated piles of books, electronics, and cosmetics offer biographical snapshots of their owner. On a more universal scale, her series of miniature cut paper paintings depict the “junk” of everyday life in a seemingly floating constellation. These works are driven by research on “how space junk is rapidly accumulating in the earth's atmosphere, where it's out of sight like garbage in landfills but not gone.”
B. Chehayeb’s work examines a more introspective act of collecting. A recent series of gestural, abstract paintings titled Conversations in a Crowded Room (50 Poems) reflects the attempt to preserve ephemeral memories and experiences. Through a series of 50 paintings, Chehayeb captures abstracted forms of the events taking place around her, recalling people’s skin, clothing, hair, and even the accompanying sounds of her surroundings. Each painting is titled after specific occasions, a tribute to the act of being present and collecting moments from everyday life.
Galleri Urbane’s Private Collection Explores the Stuff of Life, D Magazine. Natalie Gempel.