Misercordiano

Sunday, April 17, 2016
St. Ephrem Church, 7414 Ft. Hamilton Pkwy, Brooklyn

We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. 

–Pope Francis

We watch the destruction of lives through war, injustice and poverty as abstractions making it possible to disconnect from their reality, but it is not possible to disconnect from the tangled mesh of life itself, the faint flutter of the butterfly’s wings that reverberate and set off a series of events that come full circle. Suffering that is inherited through the ages, a never-ending cycle.

Like the butterfly’s kiss our actions need not be large. A flapping wing, a merciful wing can alter a system. Giving justice is a salve that soothes, but granting mercy is anathema to our instincts for it calls for us to cede power. Mercy allows for an escape, it gives us a way out and leads us to love.

Life is a dynamic system and we are a part of its trajectories and iterations. Mercy counters behavior that destroys and fractures our fractal world.

We are granted mercy in all forms, simple and complex. It is critical for us to note the simple, the daily and the mundane aspects of divine mercy alongside the grand acts of mercy that inspire awe in order to become agents of mercy.

This show is a celebration of our interconnectedness and a call to illuminate the need for mercy, moments of mercy and avenues towards a more merciful existence.

SHOW ESSAY:

“Being apostles of mercy means touching and soothing the wounds that today afflict the bodies and souls of many of our brothers and sisters.” -Pope Francis

Suffering is universal. As humans we feel pain and we inflict pain. Although this exhibition takes place in a Catholic place of worship and is inspired by the Pope’s Jubilee of Mercy, the artists in the show are of different beliefs and their interpretation of mercy varies from the personal to the political.

Sounds of mercy delivered by talented musicians precede the sights of mercy offered by visual artists as commentary, illustration, edification and expression in this show entitled Misercordiano. (Misercordiano: mercy-ing, a word coined by Pope Francis to focus on how we are to act in mercy, the word mercy becomes an active verb.)

Audrey Anastasi’s series of small paintings on travel documents addresses “empathy, the importance of touch and protection of fellow human beings.” The images are quickly and masterfully painted and denote the plight of refugees and the never-ending stories of humanity in flight.

A number of the works in this show reference personal loss or the memory of a loved one who lived a life of merciful existence, touching people with their kindness, knowledge and love whose immortality continues through their acts. Mary Ann and Madeline are two works that celebrate and mourn the lives of two women who greatly influenced the artist, Jeannine Bardo. Both teachers, these women left their mark through their love, teaching of knowledge and by example. Madeline honors a much-loved St. Ephrem teacher, Madeline Scotto and Mary Ann is a devotion to the artist’s mother and was made shortly after her death. Aelushi Mistry’s photo Shubh Kamana references her Indian culture and rituals in reverence to her father who is esteemed by so many through his life of merciful acts.

Ghosts of the past find their voice through the work of Cheryl Lynn Parry who researches and brings to light the suffering of the invisible and exploited victims of society. Her installation works consist of memorials to the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and dignified chronicles honoring domestic workers. Bringing her Magdalene Laundries into the church setting for this show is timely in the wake of Pope Francis’s document on the family “Amoris Laetitia” where he exhorts the need to rule with compassion as opposed to strict doctrine. The women of the laundries, the “Magdalenes”, were deemed “less than” creating a cycle of exploitation and abuse. Harsh judgment and not the mercifulness modeled by Christ led to the victimization of the most vulnerable. Parry’s “haunts” find their way through her work to keep their stories alive and reach out to us for mercy.

Giving voice to the marginalized is also the impetus of artist Ellen Coleman Izzo’s work. She uses the medium of printmaking as a “vehicle for driving change”, her Homeless Memorial Book was inspired by her trip to Washington D.C. and the large population of homeless people that were living in plain sight among the tourist sites, but invisible nonetheless. Daniel’s Space is a poignant reminder of the need to value everyone’s humanity.

Maya Carino’s work Anatomy of Sight is a fundamental reminder that we must “see” each other through the eyes of compassion and live the Golden Rule.

“To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope!”

Pope Francis

Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si’ addresses humanity’s interconnectedness and calls out for us to understand that, “we are not faced with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.”

Several works on view focus on our connections to nature and like Pope Francis illuminate the need for an integral ecology. Isabelle Garbani uses the ubiquitous plastic bag as a material in her works as a warning. “My choice of materials reflects this paradoxical view that I have of American culture. Plastic is indispensable and it is completely unnecessary; it is vital to our modern lives and it is harmful to our environment; it is a true technological achievement and a sign of our failure.” Her piece, Ft. Lauderdale made from plastic bags, transforms the feeling of a simple moment in the artist’s life into an omen of a post-human world choked by its own “success” simply by her choice of materials.

Heidi Zarou’s photographs celebrate the spiritual healing aspect of nature and Maura Smith’s image Mary’s Tear is an illustration of the Blessed Mother’s mercy for the world that is prevalent in Catholic teaching.

An agent of mercy is frequently borne through a person’s own self awareness. The need for mercy is often illuminated in times of stress, doubt and darkness and artists often find their voice through the artistic process. Like prayer, it is only when one gives in completely to the process that answers reveal themselves.

The artist Gina Colazzo’s series Illumination is an example of finding a new voice through the contemplative action of painting. The making of Chris Froelich’s Discussion with Rico marked a moment of clarity and connection between father and son and artists Alicia Degener and Cheres Espinosa gratefully acknowledge the importance of a strong community to cultivate a merciful existence by using the community as their subject. Maria Mottola’s Larry finds the dignity of a “pathetic and awkward” soul through the drawing practice by deeply contemplating her subject in relation to her own bias and Jacqueline Wadsworth’s Passion to Mercy reminds us that mercy can only be present in the world if it is first present within ourselves.

Mercy relies on faith. Like the butterfly’s kiss, our actions need not be large. A flapping wing, a merciful wing can alter a system. Dispensing justice is a salve that soothes, but granting mercy is anathema to our instincts for it calls for us to cede power. Maria Mottola’s Altar Piece favors the concept of mercy in her early Catholic teaching and Joanie Flickinger likens her work to a “valentine from the creator”, a message that engages her faith. Hence the title:

…”And there shall be no more death

Giving up the Ghost

January 7, 2016 from 6 to 12 pm
Owl’s Head Wine Bar, 479-74th Street, Brooklyn

‘Tis the spirited season to toast the ghosts of the past, present and future walking amongst us with spirits of the vine for Stand’s 6th exhibit at The Owl’s Head wine bar. Please join us for a festive evening of Bay Ridge arts events as we pair with Bay Ridge Arts Space for a night of visual and performing arts that play on the themes of ghosts and revival.

Participating artists: Audrey Anastasi, Fiona Buchanan, Danielle Bullock, Jean Calderone, Maria Calderone, Maya Ines Carino, Gina Colazzo, Carl Contrera, Alicia Degener, Cecilia Whittaker-Doe, Cheres Espinosa, Marie Laure Fino, Joanie Flickinger, Christopher Froelich, Michele Nordi Hern, Grant Huang, Ellen Coleman-Izzo, Heidi Lanino, Christopher Moss, Mitch Patrick, Catherine Petrosino, Elissa Swanger, Jacqueline Wadsworth, Peter Wadsworth

Sheltered Past

A Pop-up Exhibit, at a historical carriage house in Bay Ridge
August 7, 2015
Bay Ridge Place

SHOW ESSAY contributed by Nicole Fennimore

In Book X of Homer’s Odyssey, the witch Circe directs the poem’s hero to pay honor and heed to the dead before continuing on his course towards Ithaca. As if subsumed by those very waves which will enfold and swallow his own men, Odysseus succumbs to the pull of the past before reemerging on his journey home.

An object, a memory, a word from the past may draw us back before we move ahead. A step not taken or maybe taken better, a habit or custom learned from a parent, the story of people unrelated yet relatable to us, a memory whose sweetness still lingers – such are the ghosts that inhabit our minds.

Who we are today rests ineluctably upon the experiences of our distant and not distant pasts. What we have seen, heard, tasted and felt populates our minds with ideas and judgments. What is good or bad, welcome or dreaded, sought or avoided is often derived from reflecting on our memories and understanding where and how we ought to go next.

The artist holds a special place in the re-creation of the past. In examining an object, an experience, a story or image, she summons in her mind and in her work the spirit of those past beings. Those voices serve to animate her own present soul, and enliven the heart or mind of the person who receives her art.

Like Odysseus, whose libations of earthly nourishment – milk and honey, wine and water, barley and blood – invoke the souls of the dead to speak, the artist’s materials reawaken the past. The ink that renders woods of childhood escape, the shadow boxes that resurrect stories of objects found, the penciled impressions of past forms – such elements offer a medium through which memories can comfort, warn, remind, and propel forward those travelers whose vessels still, for some short while, roam the earth’s waters.

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Set in a historical carriage house in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Sheltered Past calls artists to share stories and experiences from the past – imagined or real, belonging to others or to themselves – in a setting that evokes what has come before but still lingers.

Like all STAND exhibitions, the venue plays an integral role to the art. From butcher and bar, to greenhouse and sewing room, local public spaces have inspired the series’ artists and housed their work. Sheltered Past now invites artists and viewers to a more private space, where cobblestone and carriage house once signaled home, and where memories, hidden in time or under layers of conscience, are mined for the treasures they might yield.

Pop-up Paper Show at Reich Paper

Friday March 27 from 6-9 p.m.
Reich Paper – 7518 Third Avenue, Brooklyn

ARTISTS

Audrey Anastasi, John Avelluto, Jeannine Bardo, Danielle Bullock, Jean Calderone, Maria Calderone, Alyssa Casey, Barbara Compa, Alicia Degener, John De La O, Nicole Donnelly, Joanie Flickinger, Dennis Greenwell, Peter Hagen, Azita Houshiar, Tyshawn Henry, Ellen Coleman Izzo, Heidi Lanino, Deidre Laughton, Kate McGraw, Toby Needler, Sara Pringle, Kristine Robinson, John Ros, Jason Rondinelli, Judith Rubenstein, Darcy Smith, Patti Smith, Beth Steidle, Diane Steiner, Elena Soterakis, Annie Varnot, Jacque Wadsworth, Peter Wadsworth, Tamara Zahaykevich, Heidi Zarou

INFORMATION AND INSPIRATION

Stand’s commitment to artists and community brings this unique art experience to the public.

The Pop-Up Paper Show will feature the work of over twenty artists connected to the Bay Ridge/Brooklyn community. Part exhibition, part studio sale, the event brings together a diverse group of artists to initiate dynamic dialogues about studio practices and the importance of community involvement and support. A variety of works on paper will be on view and available for purchase, priced to sell at $300.00 or less. Stand is artist-run and artist-funded. 100% of sales generated at this event will go directly to the artists.

Paper is visceral, a loved and invaluable material for every artist. Humble and hard working it is usually the first place for the artist’s ideas to take hold. This show is a homage to the humble workhorse that is paper and it is fitting that we honor it by giving it a chance to find a new home and a new love. This opportunity to purchase art, support your local art community and get to know the artists and Reich Paper will only be available for one evening.

Reich Paper is a family-owned business that sells quality old world papers with the innovation and needs of the new world in an environmentally sustainable way. It has been chosen as the 4th venue in the Stand series.

Landescape

June 26 thru July 20, 2014
Greenhouse Café – 7717-3rd Avenue, Brooklyn

ARTISTS

Audrey Anastasi, Cecilia Whittaker-Doe, John Ros, Lisanne McTernan, Aidan Sofia Earle, Peter Wadsworth, Jeannine Bardo, Jacqueline Wadsworth, Joanie Flickinger, Jean Calderone, Cheres Espinosa, Allan Gendelman, Maria Calderone

INSPIRATION

  • The greenhouse is a manmade construct used to recreate a natural environment for the purpose of cultivating plants produced for sustenance and/or beauty.
  • An artwork is a manmade construct used to express one’s imagination, feeling or idea.
  • LandEscape is a show focused on work that uses the natural landscape as inspiration and humanity’s relationship with the natural world.

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A Thousand Threads at Brooklyn Stitchery

Spring 2014
Brooklyn Stitchery – 458 87th Street, Brooklyn

ARTISTS

Ellen Izzo,  Lisanne McInienery, Audrey Anastasi, Ethan Wadsworth, Heidi Lanino , Joanie Flickinger, Katherine Matos, Catherine Petrosino, Jaqueline Wadsworth, Cynthia Alberto, Peter Wadsworth, Yeimi  Salazar, Jeannine Bardo

ESSAY

A Thousand Fibers

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”

Herman Melville

The ancient art of weaving and sewing, long considered womens crafts are rarely elevated to the high arts such as painting and sculpture, yet a painting is often supported by a weaving, the canvas that allows for the picture plane in which paint magically forms into an image. Weaving is one of humankind’s first forms of technology with samples found from the Paleolithic era, a time when humans began to produce works of art and it marked the early beginnings of religion and ritual.  Weaving produces a grid. It is the original grid as noted by the artist Beryl Korot during her immersion into the weaving process “ I had become aware of the loom as the first computer on earth in that it is programmed pattern according to a numerical structure. It is the original grid constructed by humans with technology, whether simple reeds and wood and fibre often attached to a weaver’s body, or with punched cards, harnesses and treadles to increase speed…” , a paradox of simplicity and complexity. Woven fabric is stitched to create form. A form used to cover our bodies not only for protection but also to create an identity whether it is an individual or a collective identity.

Both of these skills, borne of necessity, created community and have become enmeshed in the social, economic and linguistic “fabric” of most cultures. We weave stories, spin yarns, fabricate lies, patch up relationships, hem ourselves in, mesh with others, in social networks, the world wide web, or face to face.

Melville’s words can almost be considered literally in the history of textiles, but his intentions were poetic and speak in metaphor of our higher calling as conscious beings on this Earth.

The artists in “A Thousand Fibers” have been chosen because of the use of fiber and textile materials through the art process in their literal, metaphorical and historical context and how their art connects to others and their world.

Inspired to create a new work based on the show’s theme Jacqueline Wadsworth conceived of a mythical world in which the hopes and hearts of a king and a queen, representing humanity, are tethered together along with their triumphs and failures in their journey through time and their relationships with each other and the natural world.

Time and its’ inevitable offertory of loss is addressed in Lisanne McTernan’s piece I Can’t Let Go. Artifacts with personal connections to McTernan’s past are deconstructed and reworked leaving the viewer with their own archeological riddle to work through.

Cynthia Alberto’s Shawman’s Shawl uses hair, fibers of the body, to create a garment that addresses the politics of hair and its universal language as well as its function and beauty.

Line is prevalent in the work of Aidan Sofia Earle. A line drawn with needle and thread, used to join objects and create new worlds formed with our detritus, worlds that are familiar and foreign, beautiful and abject.

Peter Wadsworth‘s line uses traditional drawing tools, but the line from his pen or pencil begins with the textures, patterns and forms of the clothing of his subject. Using his time traveling by train, Peter sketches portraits of his fellow commuters and discerns his choice of subject by the aesthetics of the apparel they wear. His drawings not only hone his skills and capture a moment and a personality they also connect him to his subjects and fellow commuters by opening up an opportunity to communicate with others.

In contrast, the drawings of Audrey Frank Anastasi begin with a drawing of the female form subsequently “dressed” with lace, the fabric of seduction, innocence, sweetness and tradition. A feminist artist, Anastasi confronts the convention of the female form as object over subject.

Heidi Lanino in her textile-inspired works deemphasizes the human form from the image and exalts the garment of the wearer by giving it the stage and using it to evoke emotion.

Like Lanino, the garment as subject is also found in Joanie Flickinger’s Couture series, but Flickinger’s work plays with recognition by imbuing her classic dress forms with vintage printed paper and text that both recall a bygone age and bring in fresh context.

The works of Ellen Coleman Izzo address the disparity of the homeless and the culture of materialism. Inserting homeless subjects into the comforts of home, Coleman reminds us of their humanity and presence in our world.  Here, the ironies are summed up with Threadcount v Threadbare.

Jeannine Bardo’s paintings are objects made up of paint, glass, crystals and thorns. These materials and found objects are fused in conflict with a woven garden mesh, a tool to control the natural world, to create works that focus on the human struggle to tame the wilderness and exploit its resources.

Katherine Matos paints with fibers. Her artistic journey is process-based and begins with her mastery in the craft of weaving.  Matos allows her senses and understanding of the materials to guide her aesthetic decisions.  Decisions made in response to the textures, colors and properties of the fibers are evident in her piece Experiment in Color and Texture.

Yeimi Salazar’s works examine the connection of language and emotion and exposes their truths and affinity by revealing them as separate entities. Side by side we see them as interchangeable and wholly a part of what we are. They are our contradictions, our binary self. In Salazar’s work Heartless, a human heart is made with a simple cotton ball and paint. Benign and sympathetic it belies its’ wicked title.

Human lives connected by threads, weaves its way into Catherine Petrosino’s figurative and literal narrative. Inspired by her work teaching her design skills, Catherine is in awe of the capacity of the fiber arts to connect people. Her studio is a place to strike root, a rhizome that spreads to others. Unlike The Fates of mythology who controlled the metaphorical thread of life, Petrosino’s heart is open to fate that is offered serendipitously and that heart finds its way into her words and her craft.

Finally, Ethan Wadsworth’s A Community of Snails reminds us of the fun and happenstance that occur in the art-making process. A new world order of humble snails in a familial setting is hatched from a mind engaged in the simple acts of imagining and just doing.

Jeannine Bardo

I would like to thank Catherine Petrosino for sharing her talents and for all of her support in making this show a possibility.

Choice Connections

February 8 thru March 1, 2014
Butcher Bar – 458 87th Street, Brooklyn

The “butcher “and the “bar”, once staunch neighborhood hubs are losing ground as integral social centers as communities are carved up to accommodate big box stores and large-scale businesses, and residents move on to more affordable pastures across the bay.  Once a community with as many bars as churches, with strollers parked outside of the butcher’s market, fish monger, grocery and fruit markets, Bay Ridge is not alone as a community in flux.

“It is not from the benevolence (kindness) of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”

This is a quote from the economist Adam Smith’s book “A Wealth of Nations” in which he pictures self- interest as “the invisible hand”.  “The invisible hand” as a force that drives commerce and people to make economic choices and create competition. While there is truth to his theory it becomes complicated when the complexities of the human experience come into play. This “invisible hand” is sometimes connected to a beating heart that may steer a choice of self-interest towards the interest of others.

We find this in strong communities – in places where the butcher is not just a purveyor of meat but also a family business, a place to gossip, meet neighbors and ask for culinary advice.  Many people know when they enter their local butcher that a connection is made to the animal by the person entrusted to provide it for the community.    Likewise, the local bar is not only a seller of spirits but also a place to connect and converse with others, where the social network is face-to-face and not on a computer screen.

It is the beating heart that sometimes makes choices that do not correlate with the work of “the invisible hand”.  That hand is often larger and stronger than the heart that feeds it, hence the replacement of the small family business with the large all-inclusive corporate entity.   

Is this what Smith is defending? When the butcher, the brewer and the baker cannot compete for their self-interest because “the invisible hand” belongs to a giant, whose interest is served with the replacements?  What is lost when we substitute craft and quality for convenience?  When connections, physical and social lose a place to take hold, does a community finally unravel? How does a dollar store out-live a butcher? Let’s pull up a bar stool and talk.

The focus of this exhibition is to illuminate how connections are made to seemingly disparate subjects through the social networks of language, community, commerce and tradition and how artists consider these connections within their work as well as place.  Like the butcher and the bar, art is a place where language is played upon and subverted, connections and traditions are made or destroyed and business is done whether it is the business of the hand, the heart or the mind.