• “Life or Something Like It” at Molly Krom

    Opening of “Life or Something Like It” at Molly Krom, curated by Molly Merson
    Opening of “Life or Something Like It” at Molly Krom, curated by Molly Merson

    The six artists featured in “Life or Something Like It” highlight in their drawings and paintings the importance of imagination over facts, desire over need, life over survival. Molly Merson, the gallerist and curator of this show, invites the viewer to reflect on the intersection between art and life, art as a solid ground for the illusory aspects of life.

    Kathy Osborn’s figurative oil paintings convey this premise most directly. Drawing upon her collection of European doll sets, the doll-like figures in her images enact mundane situation, such as sitting on an armchair in a living room or standing by a sink in the bathroom. Lit with an eerie light, each of these solitary characters inhabits an encapsulated domestic environment which altogether resemble uncanny stage sets. Utilizing her fine-tuned skills as an illustrator, this Hudson based artist evokes dark children book illustrations, both nightmarish and funny. Deceptively benign, her universe highlights the illusion of normalcy in domesticity and suggests the artificiality in art as a substitute reality.

    Opening of “Life or Something Like It” at Molly Krom, curated by Molly Merson
    Opening of “Life or Something Like It” at Molly Krom, curated by Molly Merson

    If Osborn echoes in her work children books illustrations, Rebecca Raues emulates in her drawings the rawness of children’s art. With few loose lines and spotty colors, this Berlin based artist channels her free forms into dynamic compositions, emitting an urgent sense of disruption. Claudia Chaseling, who splits her time between Canberra and Berlin, also evokes in her imagery a sense of interrupted environments, but within tighter compositions. “Land Escape,” for example, can read as a man-made terrain, between an architectural diagram and a landscape. The prominent curvy lines in the middle and the small reddish blob on the left interrupt the controlled grid infrastructure with unpredictable bursts of energy.

    Rebecca Raue, “Untitled”, colored pencil, charcoal, acrylic, pencil, pastel on paper, 9.5”x12.6”, 2014
    Rebecca Raue, “Untitled”, colored pencil, charcoal, acrylic, pencil, pastel on paper, 9.5”x12.6”, 2014
    Claudia Chaseling, “Land Escape”, watercolor on paper, 8.26”x11.41”, 2007, courtesy Molly Krom gallery
    Claudia Chaseling, “Land Escape”, watercolor on paper, 8.26”x11.41”, 2007, courtesy Molly Krom gallery

    On a larger scale and with bolder color schemes, the Italian painter Silvia Mei’s “Autoritratto Con Mia Figlia” can read as a lament over a mother and daughter relationship, with a surreal bent. This image of a woman with an eerie grin holding an injured girl, is reminiscent of gender-bending sacrificial narrative: Isaac’s sacrifice, Jesus and Mary or characters from Greek Myths come to mind. The image is both personal and archetypal, moving and grotesque.

    Jon Campbell’s “Poppy” also conveys dark and grotesque undertones. This acrylic and tempera on paper depicts an anonymous audience, including black attired male figures, a menacing figure with a death mask and a black figure with pink dotted shirt. With its dramatic lights and shadows, this nightmarish and hermetic mindscape emits jarring psychological vibes.

    Laurian Constantin Popa’s “Untitled-69” conveys a more abstracted sense of the theatrical within a similarly enclosed space, in which the juxtaposition between the bold geometric boundaries and the anthropomorphic latex form create an engaging drama. Overall, the diverse artworks in this exhibition share moving narratives about loss, finality and the redemptive power we can derive from our imagination. As Merson sums up, without art, life becomes “Something Like It.”

     

    Silvia Mei, “Autoritratto Con Mia Figlia,” oil on canvas, 39.4”x39.4”, 2012
    Silvia Mei, “Autoritratto Con Mia Figlia,” oil on canvas, 39.4”x39.4”, 2012
    Jon Campbell, “Poppy”, acrylic and tempera on paper, 44”x60”, 2009
    Jon Campbell, “Poppy”, acrylic and tempera on paper, 44”x60”, 2009
    Laurian Constantin Popa, “Untitled-69”, 27”x20”, acrylic and latex on paper, 2015, courtesy Molly Krom gallery
    Laurian Constantin Popa, “Untitled-69”, 27”x20”, acrylic and latex on paper, 2015, courtesy Molly Krom gallery

    “Life or Something Like It”

    Molly Krom gallery

    Curated by Molly Merson

    Through December 20th

    53 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002

     

    Writing by Etty Yaniv    http://www.ettyyanivstudio.com/

    Photographs courtesy of Etty Yaniv unless otherwise indicated

     

    Etty Yaniv

    Etty Yaniv

    Etty Yaniv works on her art and art writing in Brooklyn. She holds BA in Psychology and English Literature from Tel Aviv University, BFA from Etty Yaniv works on her art and art writing in Brooklyn. She holds BA in Psychology and English Literature from Tel Aviv University, BFA from Parsons School of Design, and MFA from SUNY Purchase. She is integrating mediums such as drawing, photography and painting to form three dimensional immersive environments. She has exhibited in galleries, museums and alternative spaces in solo and group shows nationally and internationally.

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