Last Tuesday November 19th Artion Gallery finally opened downtown after being a victim of Hurricane Sandy over a year ago. The name of the inaugural group show is Salon Des Refusés, which is French for “Exhibition of Rejects,” and originally refers to the Salon des Refuses of 1863 which showed work by artists who had been rejected by the Paris Salon. This original show was actually sponsored by the French government and included Édouard Manet‘s Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l’herbe) and James McNeill Whistler‘sSymphony in White, No. 1: The White Girl.
As I turned on Water Street I noticed a large crowd gathered outside—which is odd to see because it’s a ghost town here after 5 P.M. when the markets close—and figured that this was the gallery. I enjoyed the layout of the show and the contrasts between participating artists, starting with the largest piece by Michael Anderson. The name of the artwork is Tropical Fantasy; which is a collage made of international street posters that are collected by Michael, he then restructured the images with new compositions and adds a touch of his personal dark humor. When I look at this piece, I get an island feeling full of Jamaican Reggae vibes and attitude. I love the composition, with the main focus being two models, which are the center of attention, while the smaller faces look over their shoulders, like locals looking at tourists as they invade their beaches and land.
Another great work is by Jessica Speckhard. Known for her digital collage dream like photos, this work is darker than what I have seen from her in the past. One particular artwork was a tad disturbing and challenging to understand—which is the prime reason that I am drawn to it. The piece is called Follow the Reaper, it reminded me of a haunted sexual carnival that makes me uncomfortable— the ominous notion that something bad is about to happen. If you look closely one can see sexual parts in the two main characters but instead of making you feel erotic – it was shame and the sense of being violated. Jessica will have a solo show opening up this spring at the same gallery.
Noah Becker’s ET was another highlight of the show. The piece is called ET Aphrodite and it’s a weird pseudo-comical painting that made me feel funny and childish. Noah Becker uses intersection of contemporary ideas and classical portraiture to produce his oddly unique and well executed paintings. He also currently has a solo show at The Lodge Gallery on the LES.
Aaron Johnson used socks as a brush to make wild and comedic portraits.
Debra Hampton’s powerful futuristic female collages dare to hypnotize you.
Alfred Stiner’s detailed watercolors are pieced together as a collage, using symbols, mascots, brands, and the pornographic detritus of society as a kind of abstraction to personify other known icons, in composite.
Tom Sanford’s paintings utilize the recording of contemporary historical events, concurrent with this time, by means of grotesque but cartoonish satire.
New Galleries are always welcomed in New York City and by the looks of its first show; they are off on the right track. I’m really looking forward to seeing more innovative shows like this one at Artion Gallery. The show was curated by Michael Anderson and for a bunch of rejects; these artists will not disappoint you.
ARTION is a family-owned gallery founded by Dionysia Manolakis in 1987. Starting from Greece, the last 25 years has won a dominant role in American, European and Middle Eastern market, and evolved to be a proud member of THE ARTION GROUP.
The aim of the gallery is to maintain a long term relation with the artists belonging to the ARTION TEAM and to promote them on a global basis.
The New York Headquarters function as a stage where museum-quality exhibitions, innovative solo and group shows are presented on a regular basis.
The Geneva art advisory office is mainly focused on private sales having access to an impressive collection of masterpieces.
The Gallery in Greece functions mostly as a bridge between Western and Eastern cultures.
ARTION represents exclusively renowned American, European and Arabian artists. The mission of our directors is to protect the value and integrity of our artists and to provide for the dynamic and demanding ARTION clientele.
According to Mr. Konstantinos Manolakis, ARTION is a humanistic enterprise of philosophical, cultural and civic renewal aiming at creating a platform where the finest artistic inspirations and ideas become reality.
ARTION claims a deep and eclectic expertise on different time periods and cultures. ARTION’s activities are so far spread across three Continents: USA, Europe and Middle East.
“Salon des Refusés” curated by Michael Anderson
From Nov 19 – December 21st
275 Water Street, New York NY 10038 – USA
Tel: (+1) 917 407 8977