Gallery Night in LES with Essex Flowers, Fierman, Shrine, & Lazy Susan

Installation view, Jesse Hamerman: A Chronological Sequence of Swell Artifacts at Essex Flowers.

On a fine Friday evening, the sky still bright with the nascent long sun of summer, we embarked on our gallery tour. An agenda of four: Essex Flowers, Fierman, Shrine, and the Lazy Susan Gallery. Each unique, displaying artists of a wide aesthetic range. Taking advantage of the temperate weather, we met with the gracious galleries hosts, eager to welcome our gang of curious voyagers.

Installation view, Jesse Hamerman: A Chronological Sequence of Swell Artifacts at Essex Flowers.
Installation view, Jesse Hamerman: A Chronological Sequence of Swell Artifacts at Essex Flowers.

We began at Essex Flowers. There we met with Jesse Hamerman, author of the sole work on exhibit. An amiable man, he offered us palomas, a mix of tequila and grapefruit, to pair with his piece, A Chronological Sequence of Swell Artifacts. The art in question grows like a flower in the desert, experimenting with form, texture, and time. Time, the 4th dimension, is of particular interest. Spread across a series of descending pedestals, the art evolves from a plaster cactus into a less discernible globose mass. Jesse plays with the geometry, reshaping through reconstruction over time. The cactus is layered and relayered, developing from a singular plant into a formless mold. A Chronological Sequence of Swell Artifacts speaks to the impacts that intervals of time inflict upon the individual beauty of form.

Installation view, Chuck Nanney & Nora Griffin at Fierman.
Installation view, Chuck Nanney & Nora Griffin at Fierman.
Outdoor shot, Chuck Nanney & Nora Griffin at Fierman.

Following our departure, we arrived at Fierman. A crowd had gathered and was spilling onto the sidewalk, with many enthusiastic onlookers hoping to see the works of Chuck Nanney & Nora Griffin. The Fierman exhibit explores a broad array of colors and styles. The Pretender, one of Nora Griffin’s, is an oil on canvas work paired with a painted wooden frame; amorphous violet bubbles float in the background, contrasted by neon orange that is marked with electric purple streaks. At the center, a lone figure sits in a position of zen. Many of the works by Chuck Nanney experiment with wood as a medium. Our Voices Echo is composed of acrylic painted on wood, arranged with metal hinges. The piece is largely black, except for small misshapen squares that stream through the center; each unique, implying singular vibrancy.

Mimi Gross, Man with a Camera, 2016, gouache on wood, 17.25 x 11.5 x 2.75 in.
Mimi Gross, 4 P.M. (Nap), 2016, gouache on wood, 7.5 x 20.5 x 1.75 in.
(L-R) Laura Weyl, guest, Mimi Gross and Monique Mantell.

After engaging with the pieces at Fierman’s, we continued to Shrine. Here, At the Beach, by artist Mimi Gross parades around the semi-circular room. Scott, the owner/curator, worked alongside the artist to maximize the emotional impact of the art with the gallery space. Like a wave, a series of individual characters flow around the room, each a representation of a beach time activity. The cast of castaways demonstrate a human-touch, exploring themes of loneliness, curiosity, happiness, camaraderie, and calm. The beach is a metaphor for the range of complexity of life.

Artwork by Mikhail Sokovikov
Artwork by Jason Aaron Wall

The final stop for our summer night was the Lazy Susan Gallery. Warranted Non-Compliance, a series of black and white paper art by artists Christopher Johnson, Mikhail Sokovikov, and Jason Aaron Wall, was up for show. The works are at times haunting but nonetheless fascinating. Mikhail Sokovikov’s depictions etched on paper exude a seductive darkness, beckoning the eye of the beholder. The portraits are predominantly men, close-ups examinations of tortured emotions. One sketch, in particular, captivated my attention; a silent scream, the black waves surrounding his eyes and mouth.

As we concluded our tour, the sunset behind the city skyline. Our stroll across Chinatown and the Lower East Side took us through several prominent galleries, showing the works of rising and established artists alike. Only in a city such as New York can one find such examples of Fine Art in such a small area.

The exhibits will be on display several weeks, at their respective galleries: A Chronological Sequence of Swell Artifacts by Jesse Hamerman will be Essex Flowers from May 25-June 25. Fierman’s exhibit, by artists Chuck Nanney & Nora Griffin, will be up from May 5 to June 18th. Mimi Gross’s work, At the Beach, will be shown at Shrine from June 2 to July 2. The collect works of Christopher Johnson, Mikhail Sokovikov, and Jason Aaron Wall will be presented at the Lazy Susan Gallery from May 25 to the 5th of June.

Stephen Barry

Stephen Barry

Stephen Barry is a writer and graduate student of global affairs living in Brooklyn. His interests are travel, art, and literature. While open to all forms of artistic expression, he favors the styles of artists such as: Edward Hopper, Giorgio de Chirico, and Marcelo Pogolotti. Stephen is involved in the Brooklyn Street Art scene, and believes city walls should be painted. He also publishes under his nom de plume, T.K. Mills.

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