It is said in fashionable sets of convention that the art scene is defined by the people (art aficionados), place (the gallery du jour), and things (the artwork itself) whether in one aspect or all three combined that makes it a success. During my three exciting years of art writing that at times it almost bordered on insanity when all three become so homogenized that you lose sight of the most important thing: the one that matters at the end of the day, which is the art on the wall.
I wander on my off days and have come across this tiny gem of a gallery in the NOLITA (North of Little Italy) district. I talked to the gallery representatives and they clued me in on a show that will feature three new artists debuting in their stable. The key word here is “NEW” and that’s what I anticipated then came to fruition when AF attended the opening of People, Places, Things last September 17th at Rebecca Hossack Gallery.
The trio of artists namely Andy Dixon, Rebecca Rebouché, and Anna Valdez showcased their paintings that definitely put a stamp on the sense of people, places and things. Collectively they represent a great span of North America from Vancouver, Canada over to Louisiana and on to California, which demonstrates the tapestry of method, nuance and theme for this group show.
First up, let’s talk about the people. Sure, the night had the usual smart set of art loving denizens but Andy Dixon created his own take on formal portraiture with his iconic yet refreshingly edgy people on his canvas. Rooted in the gallantry of portrait painting that Dixon created his own twisted style by making the traditionally perfect into compellingly imperfect. The blotches of intense almost acrid hues punched up the otherwise conservative nature of his subjects. His sense of color relation and deconstructed gaiety of melting facades evokes a creepy but arresting effect. You behold the entire image and it actually makes you smile. What a clear deviation from the otherwise dour looking people that usually stare back at you. Think of another Andy as in Andy Warhol silk screening the prim noble visages at the National Portrait Gallery. Dixon kept it playful, composed and the air of brevity born from obliterating the absurdly perfect.
Next up should be the place. Obviously the gallery is the default place for any art related event. It is where you show the art. This gallery was charming with its petite square footage but it featured thousand mile soaring artworks. Such is the case of the works by Rebecca Rebouché who created her dream state world where the surreal chooses to reveal or conceal. Isle of Dreams seemed to be the popular favorite as it featured a circle of sailboats swarming closely to the island like sharks feasting on the lone bed placidly under the cloak of night. Mostly monochromatic and with controlled brushstrokes that Rebouché touched on the right balance of whimsical and placid languor, which established that a sense of place is not always where you stand but where your mind can take you. The flock of birds in another painting was reminiscent of M.C. Escher and another featured a French clown shuffling alone on a stage. These evoke loneliness and flights of fancy that can occur by the placement of one’s disposition. You would never mind getting lost for all eternity in the place Rebouché has carefully depicted with her quadrant of created dreams.
Finally last but not the least are the things that matter which in conventional thinking would be the ART. Yes, the gallery took on this exciting endeavor to feature a trio of great talent. The work is the thing and the source material for which without, I am rendered useless. Anna Valdez has meticulous myriads of composition in her still life paintings that are more than a collection of things. Each pattern and object are bullet points or breathing marks to a rhythmic oeuvre that evoked a simple view but in execution took years to render as effortless. Her tableaux and scenes of quilted backdrops with plants impart the slight scent of Henri Matisse but in a more casual mood. The effect is familiar, comforting but never on the territory of mundane. No, this is the real thing where art chooses to emanate life and feeling to its viewer. The kaleidoscopic effect of the works by Valdez made you want to see more or perhaps sew yourself into the tapestry she pieced.
For their debut at this gallery, the three artists could not ask for a better set of people, place and thing to cook it all together. It is at this instance that I am in this intimate space in NOLITA where I am reminded why I write about art. It is about the people, places and things but each one has to be superlative in their own right to be an exceptional whole. Finally I can say to myself this is an ART SEEN not just another art scene.
People, Places, Things / On View: Sept. 17 – Oct. 12, 2014
Gallery Hours: Monday to Saturday ((11 am – 7 pm) & Sundays (12 – 5 pm)
Rebecca Hossack Gallery. 262 Mott Street. NYC, NY 10012
Art Review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Photography by: Olya Turcihin