In a city where a square foot will run you several thousand pretty pennies, spaces are becoming increasingly more innovative and maximizing. A relative newcomer to New York’s Meatpacking district, Fort Gansevoort is a prime example of thinking outside the blueprint. The enduring 19th-century row house was many things throughout its past lives but has most recently been revitalized as a three story art gallery, craft retailer, BBQ take-out, and event venue hybrid. There is something to be said of the heightened cultural collaboration that results from such a synthesis, and for founder and curator Adam Shopkorn, this was precisely his vision.
New York’s creative vendors are highlighted in Fort Gansevoort’s S, M, L series, which rotates jewelry designers, fabric dyers, confectioners, florists, perfumers and more behind the venue’s three multisided bars, ghosts from its drinkery days. While these retailers claim occupancy for four months at a time, artistic residents are more frequently in and out the door, allowing the space to showcase more visual work throughout the year. Taking over two floors, Fort Gansevoort Gallery is both an adjunct platform and freestanding exhibitory space in its own right, with the congruous mission of exhibiting the emerging and established, highbrow and lowbrow talent of New York.
The established and highbrow, albeit internationally based, Isabelle Fein joins the gallery for the next two months, presenting a curated selection of original works. This marks the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York and North America, as she brings over from across the Atlantic her dreamy German drawings. The modestly sized images are undemanding but highlight Fein’s skilled use of colored pencil on paper, an overlooked yet exquisite medium. Her larger oil paintings command more attention but adhere to the same soft visuals, gently blending brushstrokes and colors to create imagined dreamscapes punctured with a very real nostalgia. The works’ unfinished quality also leaves room for personal engagement and re-interpretation, with Fein in a way encouraging her viewers to weave their own illusions and ideas.
Isabelle Fein’s Illusions and Ideas is on view from January 20 – March 20, 2016 at Fort Gansevoort, 5 Ninth Avenue, New York.
Writing by Lisa Marsova