There is a disco ball in 12 panels so you might as well cue up the Donna Summer because as the temps rise we are hot to trot for the hottest show called Hotspots, the inaugural exhibition at the new storefront of On Stellar Rays on the Bowery. Rochelle Feinstein, Tommy Hartung and JJ PEET burn up some inciting moments at the brand spanking new interior of the gallery.
The first thing that seers itself into your line of vision are the 12 panel paintings by Rochelle Feinstein which began in 2008 to mark American-led invasions of the Middle East and the halftone dots forming the outline of globes that seem to be turning on a wobbly axis embody the various definitions of the word “hotspots” as a Wi-Fi signal location, a jumping night spot, central hotbed of activity, etc. The dots or hotspots appear to be signed on the surface. The overlapping colors resemble wavy heat images of a mirage. And like a mirage that manifests in the desert, it can be an illusion or a saving grace.
JJ PEET had stoneware clay sculptures that seem to define the ravages of time with mythical objects such as an eyeball and a teacup. It is right smack in the middle of the main gallery floor. Viewers converge around it like moths to a flame. The work espouses how we receive and process information about the social and political state of the world. Let’s take a wildfire guess of what the eyeball and teacup signify. The eyeball is a watchdog in the political arena or a myopic lens filtering the public truth while the teacup symbolizes the manufactured civility of our society. We can hotly debate this to death but you choose what you interpret it to be.
At the rear room of the gallery is the storyboard display of Polaroid pictures by Tommy Hartung that explores the idea of a soft invasion of an exotic tour company in the mountains of Tibet. Remote Tourism offered fantastic imagery from a web-controlled UAV but it went bankrupt in 2008. The locals hotly referred to the drone taking landscape pictures as the “Evil Eye” and what a narrative of a Travel and Leisure feature gone awry. The clash of the forces between the mountain locals and this new fangled technology offering authentic experiences became the hothouse to create the series.
Like Prometheus who stole fire from Mount Olympus to gift mankind, these artists took their burning thoughts and passions to be expressed in their artwork as this show can attest. Art ignites discussion and burns away the mundane. It is that wildfire pursuit that keeps the aficionados out every week pouring into galleries.
HOTSPOTS: Rochelle Feinstein / Tommy Hartung / JJ PEET
Exhibition Dates: May 26 – July 1, 2016
Gallery Hours: Wed to Sat 10 am – 6 pm / Sun 12 – 6 pm
On Stellar Rays. 213 Bowery Street. NYC, NY 10002
Art Review by Oscar A. Laluyan
Photos provided by the gallery