“Others will enter the gates of the ferry and cross from shore to shore,
Others will watch the run of the flood-tide,
Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the heights of Brooklyn to the south and east,
Others will see the islands large and small;
Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half an hour high,
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them…”
~ Walt Whitman, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”
When the grandfather of modern American poetry penned his iconic ode to New York in 1854, he could not have known how each “shore to shore” would come to connect the five boroughs we know today—each its own urban archetype of hustle, flow, labor, love, and creative output. However much Chelsea might seem to circumscribe a singular art world, the reality, of course, is that the city is an ever-expanding galaxy of talent and praxis, bound not by the coordinates of the gallery circuit so much as the bright band of energy that ignites and unites communities.
This energy is not lost on Denise Bibro Fine Art gallery, who through a rigorous submission and studio-visit process selected 41 artists for its fourth Art from the Boros exhibition, on view till August 13th. To attempt any accurate reflection of the miscellany of styles, methodologies, media, and identities in the city would seem an impossible task—and not one that the gallery takes lightly. For as diverse as are the show’s contents, the space itself doesn’t feel thematically or formally disjunctive. Metal work strikes a dialogue with jagged strokes of oil paint; the abstract flirts with the figurative; textile tag-teams watercolor.
In a bold curatorial move, the largest piece of the show—Thurston Belmer’s oil on panel Untitled #3 (2016)—confronts one upon entrance like a still from a film screened from the subconscious. Any homage to the luster of Old Master painting is complicated by the portrait’s jarring epithelial reveal—a woman in a white bonnet exposing the insides of her lower lids. On the opposite wall, Amir Hariri’s Pool House (2016) and Anne Finkelstein’s New Whitney (2016) distort architectural space via oil and acrylic and digital photography, respectively—both renderings a contemporary take on Futurist Giacoma Bella’s frenetic vision-play.
Across the gallery, Daniel Sinclair’s elegant steel sculptures Vampire (2013) and Dragonfly (2013) take on a decidedly sinister tone once realizing that they were shaped out of industrial shears. The feather-like brushstrokes of Double Geisha (2106), Jack Rosenberg’s oil on aluminum panel, recall the movement of koi in a Kyoto pond, the women’s soft profiles submerged in its surface. The racked physiognomy of Scott Walker’s hand-embroidered figures is complemented by the spare Faith / Doubt II (2015), in which the two words appear in lower case as though blinking on top of one another.
Other work implicates life in the city itself. Yasmin Gur’s framed assemblage of reclaimed wood, Downtown (2014), juts out of the wall into the gallery space, a splintery skyline of claustrophobic timber. Chelsea Ramirez’s On and on and on and on (2015) engages both the temporal and spatial experience of waiting for the subway; comprised of collaged paper whose edges are invisible from a distance, its smudged charcoal figures appear underground ghosts trapped in endless purgatory.
“It avails not, time nor place—distance avails not,” continues Whitman. “Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd.” I was reminded of the verse at the Art of the Boros opening in July; the gallery was packed with a delightfully motley group of humans, the event memorialized on canvas by DBFA artist Audrey Ushenko. A veritable “floodtide” of diverse New York talent, Art of the Boros invigorates West 20th—granting new zing to the adage “keeping it local.”
Art of the Boros will be on view till August 13th. Denise Bibro Fine Art is located at 529 West 20th St, 4W, and open Tuesday to Saturday from 11AM–6PM. For more information, call (212) 647-7030 or visit www.denisebibrofineart.com