Show #21: Memento Mori
Curated by Deborah Brown
July 10th - August 9th
Opening: July 10th, 6-8pm
Colleen Cunningham, Jean Paul Gomez, Brian Guidry, Laura Judkis, Heidi Lau, Julie Ann Nagle, Alex O'Neal, M. A. Papanek-Miller, Ben Pranger, Wade Schaming
Throughout human history, cultures and peoples have made monuments to celebrate, commemorate, memorialize, remember and insure the survival of their values as a civilization. The artists in Memento Mori (from the Latin, "remember that you will die") examine the iconography of the monument from a contemporary vantage point. The work takes many forms: heraldic crests (Brian Guidry), totems (Wade Schaming), mapping and marking (Jean Paul Gomez), text-as-structure (Alex O'Neal), funeral mounds (Heidi Lau), hieroglyphic collage (M.A. Papanek-Miller), photo-documentation-hagiography (Julie Ann Nagle), distilled and repurposed remnants (Laura Judkis), surreal architecture-in-landscape renderings (Colleen Cunningham) and retro sci-fi structures (Ben Pranger). These ten artists employ form and craft in the service of a spooky narrative, at times archeological, psychological or metaphysical. Mixing references to art history and popular culture, the works present a fresh take on familiar forms. Together they form a kind of "momento mori," an elegy to something past or lost to which the artist and the artwork pays tribute.
The curator wishes to thank Field Projects for the opportunity to curate a show in their well-regarded program. Sincere thanks as well to all the artists who submitted work for consideration. The level was extremely high and many different shows could have been assembled from the submissions. After reviewing nearly 3500 images, I have chosen work by artists completely unknown to me. The theme was suggested by the work submitted, around which I thought an interesting show might be assembled. The show has surprised me, and I hope it will introduce fresh voices to the scene.
Deborah Brown is an artist, gallerist and Bushwick gadfly. She is a board member of NURTUREart, BRIC Artist Advisory Council and Community Board #4 in Bushwick where she serves as chair of the Arts and Culture Committee. Her work is represented by Lesley Heller Workspace. In addition to her art practice, she owns and directs the gallery Storefront Ten Eyck to show the work of emerging Bushwick artists and to revisit the work of established artists.