********* GALLERY IS OPEN SUNDAYS 1-5PM ONLY – AND BY APPOINTMENT **********
OCTOBER 16 – NOVEMBER 14, 2021
Marvin Gardens is pleased to announce the opening of “Laid Back,” an exhibition by the painter James Ulmer. This is the artist’s second solo show at the gallery. This exhibition will run concurrently with a second solo exhibition by Ulmer – “Painting Pictures” – at The Hole on Bowery.
The ten new paintings on view mark a decisive dive into color when compared to recent years. The pigment-heavy flashe paint sings loud on these mostly large canvases, quieted only in its velvety texture.
The works are an arrangement of delicate balances of color and shape. Ulmer paints seemingly simple compositions of reductively flat figures with surreal landscape elements and minimal patterning. In this way they tilt toward abstraction, yet the shapes maintain the edges that define their imagery. Matisse’s cut-outs are brought to mind. Ulmer builds the imagery in a similar way, beginning with drawings, which are transferred onto the computer where the he arranges and rearranges shapes and colors until a composition is struck.
Ulmer’s repeated figures and flat treatment also call to mind the artist John Wesley. These paintings, like Wesley’s, appear pristinely clear and crisp from afar, yet bear the marks of the painter’s hand when examined up close. Pencil lines can still occasionally be seen where shapes meet, and color shifts are recorded where the artist changed their mind. These more intimate details of the paintings contrast the iconic nature of the imagery and scale, retaining an intimately human balance.
“A CHRONIQUE FEAR”
OCTOBER 16 – NOVEMBER 14, 2021
Marvin Gardens is pleased to announce the opening of Montreal-based Marlon Kroll’s “A Chronique Fear” in our Best Western space. This is the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery.
There is a poetics in Kroll’s work that dances around the familiar and spins it slightly into the unknown, in both material use and imagery. This exhibition displays “paintings” made of color pencil on acrylic-prepared muslin stretched over panel. The generous layering of pencil creates a very unique delicate waxy sheen, while the intimate size of the panels is effective in quietly pulling the viewer closer to fully appreciate this surface.
The linework and imagery are equally intriguing. A mid-century sense of abstracted form and diagrammatic stillness is present but with an updated and brighter color palette. Some of the drawing appears to be a form of an exploded schematic, detailing parts of something tenuously mechanical of which we aren’t quite sure of its function or ultimate shape. Arp-like abstractions both anchor and float within the compositions. Space is rendered and then countered back into flatness as these abstractions slowly reveal themselves in their floating stillness upon the wall. Occasionally recognizable subjects become apparent: the outline of a face, the shape of an apple. Mostly however, the work sits comfortably on the strength of its own architecture.
“THE ADVANTAGES OF BEING SMALL”
AUGUST 27 – SEPTEMBER 26, 2021
Marvin Gardens is pleased to announce the opening of “The Advantages Of Being Small.” This exhibition marks Isabella Cuglievan’s first solo show. We are excited to present both paintings on canvas and on paper.
In these works, highly pigmented watercolor and ink immediately offer an intensely vivid kaleidoscopic effect, ripe with floral and textile references. While the patterning may reference textile and quilting from across the globe, the color palette shows influence distinctly Peruvian – Cuglievan was born and raised in Lima.
These paintings are made by layering carefully chosen blends of color upon carefully chosen blends of color, within a predetermined framework often radiating around and from the center. At times we see thick ribbons of color which look as if sliced-through, revealing additional bands of color inside, a reading that suggests the psychedelic, while also akin to digital glitch patterns. As symmetry is tested and pulled into asymmetry, the works remain grounded in repetitive compositions and controlled brushwork. The surfaces return the viewer again and again to the thin and delicate nature of the application.
The paintings are as delicate as they are strong, a challenging combination to achieve. We look forward with great excitement to seeing Cuglievan take her place in a new generation of painters, leading us in expanding our language of abstraction.
AT BEST WESTERN:
“EATING A PEACH SKY”
AUGUST 27 – SEPTEMBER 26, 2021
Marvin Gardens and Best Western are pleased to announce the opening of “Eating A Peach Sky” a solo exhibition by Brooklyn based artist Jenna Ransom. This is the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery.
The show consists of nine carefully painted canvases that pace the viewer at a slowed down experience. The paintings are made with a technique of layering and wiping which blurs and softens edges and lines. Ransom’s use of layering many light tints over dark adds a meditative feeling to the paintings by way of their stillness and self-contained light. There isn’t an apparent outside light source on the rendered forms, rather these paintings are their own light, as if they are a source of quiet and steady energy.
The fuzzy or vibrating lines and backgrounds in these paintings is somewhat like the buzz or hum of nature. And indeed the abstracted image-structure of the work is largely foliage, grass-like, and floral. The title of the show again suggests time and natural processes by introducing the idea of ingesting and digesting sustenance and nourishment whether object or idea.
MIGHT BE THE LAST SHOW
JULY 24 – AUGUST 22, 2021
Marvin Gardens is happy to announce, “might be the last show” the third solo exhibition at the gallery by New York based sculptor Dan Mandelbaum.
Here the artist positions five individual works sparsely throughout the gallery on custom-made octagonal pedestals, a shape reminiscent of the kiln shelves he fired the work on. One work set quietly alone in the second room stands on an actual circular kiln shelf.
In this exhibition one can see Mandelbaum’s skillful combination of forms and the inventive style we’ve come to know. These have been honed into a new focus in the finish of these works, glazed with careful color and texture choices. The decision on a sparse arrangement amplifies these aspects. The subtle pedestal customization and the slight violet pigmentation of the gallery walls bring together a cooling sensation quite the opposite of the scorching temperatures in which the works were baked.
AT BEST WESTERN:
JULY 24 – AUGUST 22, 2021
Marvin Gardens and Best Western are excited to announce “Sensory Overlord” a solo exhibition by Elizabeth Ferry. This is the artist’s first show with the gallery.
Sparked by original sketchbook drawings Ferry made twenty-five years ago, “Sensory Overlord” unveils a new process for the New York based artist, utilizing pigmented wax that is covered with black acrylic paint, then etched and scraped away, a tip-of-the-hat to ‘90s scratchboard art.
In these canvases, Ferry’s imagery is fantastic and familiar, from “Tongue YinYang,” in which a French kiss turns into the perfect Zen intertwining, to “When I die bury me inside a funfetti cake”, which depicts a human skeleton sat cross legged smirking creepily from inside a birthday cake.
Ferry’s paintings are incredibly vivid, almost phosphorescent, some with paint inlayed into lines carved into the wax, most of which contain a glow-powder/wax mix, effectively making them glow in the dark, allowing the artist to conceal a second image that is revealed when the lights go out. Amongst the arrangement of paintings sits a bean bag chair, wax encrusted boombox/incense burner, bamboo curtain, robotic flower and dry ice sculpture keeping drinks cold.
The music is loud, the flower is dancing, and the paintings are lit!
APRIL 10 – MAY 10, 2021
Marvin Gardens is excited to present SNEAKERHEADS, the second solo exhibition at the gallery by Matija Bobičić.
This group of paintings is from the outset a direct nod to the show title. Motifs that the artist has painted for years, such as the recurring clown mask, and various cartoon heads reappear here, often sporting larger-than-life sneakers. The compositions range from a raptor body wearing a partial clown mask to cover a Skeletor head, all the way down to the minimal pole-like signs for legs stretching directly from head to shoe. It appears as though in this form of play, almost toy-like, the body parts can be harmlessly plucked and interchanged with others.
Interweaving thinly painted passages with heavily layered backgrounds, Bobičić reminds us of his own personally unique practice of layering symbolism within his work. Having grown up during the break-up of Yugoslavia, the artist’s use of popular imagery produces a personal code that indirectly speaks to the harsh realities of human nature. A recurring example is the mask of happiness, a mere surface that partially reveals the villain’s face, which is also a sign of death and destruction. In this exhibition the painter introduces sneakers into the lexicon, commodities which have their own sordid history in global labor and trade, yet continue to be prized collectibles connected to the body in more ways than the obvious.
APRIL 10 – MAY 10, 2021
Marvin Gardens and Best Western are excited to announce the opening of “70 Raindrops” the first solo exhibition by Mark Sengbusch, born and raised in New York. In this debut show the artist displays a visual language generated in free intersections between art, design, interiors, and architecture. Growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s firmly sets the tone for some key aspects of the work. Early video game color schemes appear in the seemingly byte-informed deco and geo shapes – one thinks obviously of Tetris. Japanese toys are another vein into the larger euphony of source mixing; and modern and post-modern architectural influences from around the globe inform the built sculptures.
The self-contained wall works offer a straight forward signifier of “picture,” complete with a wooden matte border and painted frame, and Sengbusch refers to them as “paintings.” These works attain and hold their place between a screen and a sculptural rendering of a picture. The installation wall works, on the other hand, enter into an architectural intervention using an expansive treatment of repeating interlocking pieces.
The overall attitude in Sengbusch’s oeuvre is energetically positive and inclusive. The artist doesn’t appear to be concerned with the ‘baggage’ of any of these historical wells, taking them as nourishment and creatively jettisoning forward. His playful touch and wit, combined with exacting craftsmanship, reach a unique state of energy presented here as a full-room installation
THE YEAR OF 2020:
AT BEST WESTERN:
OCTOBER 30 – NOVEMBER 22, 2020
IN COLLABORATION WITH CHART
Marvin Gardens and Best Western are excited to announce “Thumbnails” in collaboration with CHART, a two-venue solo presentation of work by artist
Jason Silva (b. 1979). The exhibition features a series of drawings spanning six years alongside new paintings. Silva’s most prolific body of work, the graphite works on paper, are a ritualistic practice the artist began in 2009. Limited to four pencils of different weights, Silva produces interior scenes and object assemblages that evoke a cinematic sense of mystery. The title of each drawing corresponds with the date on which it was executed, marking a visual history of his image-making.
These works, juxtaposed with three new oil paintings on linen, show a contrast in Silva’s working style. Whilst the drawings are immediate and determined, the paintings require a slowing down of the process. Silva likens the manner of creating these paintings to playing card games— moves are made and create layers of decision, generating an outcome that is the sum of its parts.
This is Silva’s first solo exhibition in New York City. Best Western’s exhibition is presented concurrently with a solo presentation of Silva’s work at CHART, which is located at 74 Franklin Street, New York, NY 10013. More information can be found on CHART’s website (chart-gallery.com)
To make an appointment at Best Western or for more information please send an email to: email@example.com
SARAH KIM | ADRIANNE RUBENSTEIN | RACHEL EULENA WILLIAMS
OCTOBER 17 – NOVEMBER 22
Marvin Gardens is excited to present ROOTLESS, a three-person exhibition featuring the work of Sarah Kim, Adrianne Rubenstein, and Rachel Eulena Williams
As we search our way through this new world which has seen dramatic changes in daily life, we are left with an indeterminate time frame of being upended, and are stuck in this narrative of being uprooted. However at the same time with no choice but to pick up the pieces and place one foot in front of the other, these three artists propose strong challenges to ideas of stasis in modern life.
Combining ideas of memory, sensitively mixing disparate materials, and confusing spatial readings, the artists step outwardly ahead of notions of linearity, and present us with varying facets of what it can be like to stand firmly in the present. As organisms, we continue to move on and build laterally, within our communities, and leave behind notions of being rooted if they no longer serve positive functions.
In this exhibition we are given a wealth of imagery and materials depicting growth and re-use. Contained within these artworks are useful pathways for viewers to find connections in our current mode of being dislodged from time, season, and the routines we previously found normal.
“LICK ME TILL DAWN”
SEPTEMBER 10 – OCTOBER 11, 2020
Marvin Gardens is excited to present Lick Me Till Dawn, Susumu Kamijo’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.
Kamijo will show a new series of his signature poodles while introducing a new technique, expanding his practice from paper onto canvas. In mainly large scale paintings, the poodles are set into highly abstracted backgrounds that set the scenes for each of his paintings. Divisions of horizontal color blocks suggest wide horizons and landscapes while colorful small circles in the upper left or right corner resemble the sun or the moon, depending on their colors.
The almost typological backgrounds are contrary to the idiosyncratic postures and facial expressions of each individual poodle. Proud, playful, majestically strutting around or coyly gazing back at the viewer, every poodle seems to have their very own personality. Curved lines, rounded shapes and two-colored dots that cover large sections of their bodies give the dogs and the paintings a distinct dynamic quality. In some of the new works, their mobility is further amplified by the full division of the animal’s overall shapes. The dissolution of the body further abstracts the poodle while enhancing their dynamism, similar to the paintings of Italian Futurism.
While Kamijo owns a poodle himself, the paintings are less about his love for the dog but rather about the variety of peculiar shapes they can take on. Their figures and hair styles provide a perfect playground for balancing shapes and colors. Having worked in this series for several years, Susumu Kamijo has developed a sophisticated technique that combines repetition and distinction, abstraction and individual characteristics and give his paintings their unmistakable uniqueness.
The exhibition will be held concurrently with a solo exhibition at Jack Hanley Gallery in Manhattan.
SEPTEMBER 10 – OCTOBER 11, 2020
Marvin Gardens and Best Western are excited to announce “Colossus” a solo exhibition by Kevin O’Hara. This is the artist’s first show with the gallery. Intimately sized oil paintings on prepared paper, framed without glazing, all share the same subject matter: driving at night. The viewpoint is that of being on the open road whether highway, urban, or rural. The illusion of realism is dominant at first glance until inspected closely. Then one realizes that mark-making and abstraction are the drivers into a world of pure paint.
Engaging traditional oil painting techniques and focusing on light, O’Hara presents more contemporary questions of what we are looking at. With the show title “Colossus” we are called to wonder at this uncanny world carved by the automobile, as webs of highways span like veins all across the United States. These veins move people and commodities across the body of the earth, but at a great unconsidered cost to that environmental body. Thus, through the viewpoint of the intimate window, the artist has opened a door to some of the pressing questions of our time.
To make an appointment to visit or for more information please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
HIGH SOCKS, NEW JERSEY 1950
JULY 31 – SEPTEMBER 4, 2020
Marvin Gardens is pleased to announce the opening of High Socks, New Jersey 1950, This is the first solo show in New York of Paula Lawrie (b. 1945). Displayed is a suite of 36 original works on paper, accompanied by corresponding text weaving a narrative through the drawings. Marvin Gardens has collaborated with Pacific Books to release a book of these works alongside this exhibition.
In High Socks, New Jersey, 1950, Lawrie presents her own poignant and evocative glimpse into what it meant to be growing up as a female Jewish child in 1950s New Jersey. The work details her everyday encounters with anti-Semitism, and her search for answers from these confusing and isolating experiences. What emerges is an emotional and tender story that is at once the story of a child trying to makes sense of a bewildering world, and a woman trying look back and retrieve some wonder apart from the pain.
Through the architecture of the narrative, a surreal landscape pours out. Abundant details of shading, pattern, and abstraction of figures coalesce into visually inventive and emotive characters. The emotions expressed by these drawn characters are readily identifiable, resonating with the viewers on multiple levels. The story ends with Lawrie in high school, having moved from New Jersey to New Haven, Connecticut where she finds a community that is a little more accommodating, though not without its own betrayals. A key difference in the new town is her own maturity, having grown into and realized the power of her own agency.
Although actively making work for the past 30 years Paula Lawrie has managed to remain hidden in plain sight. In the 1980s and 1990s she actively exhibited in cafes along the West coast, sometimes at a speed as great as two shows per month. In 1993, she took up a position as artist-in-residence at the Mission Science Workshop, San Francisco, where she made a small number of educational zines. Lawrie continues her inventive and prolific output of drawings and paintings to this day in Berkley, California.
For additional information or to schedule an appointment to view the exhibition please contact: email@example.com
JULY 31 – SEPTEMBER 4, 2020
Marvin Gardens cordially invites you to take an appointment to see the first show in our new project space, Best Western, adjacent to the main gallery. Throughout the Covid-19 lockdown this spring, Dan Mandelbaum continued to work at home with what spare materials were at hand, creating soft sculptures. Stylistically, they are similar in form to his ceramic work: Aztec sculpture meets modern animation, with numerous embedded references to the CoBrA movement. In his ceramic work, the material is built first over several days, and the glazing happens at the end of the process. However, in the new soft sculptures with the predetermined pattern and coloration of the fabric itself, the “finish” or “patina” comes first, and the form is arrived at through cutting and sewing.
On view in the first room is a large group of soft sculptures that Mandelbaum installed by piling them in a corner, taking advantage of another aspect of the language of their softness, similar to how stuffed animals get piled up in a child’s room. This logic of installation also eschews more traditional methods of exhibiting in a “white cube”. Similarly, in the second room one is confronted by a large group of sizeable ceramic sculptures. The new larger scale is impressive, but one also notices that they are looking at and engaging with a crowd. Once again, this is a gesture against a clean gallery display, and perhaps an engagement with how we have been seeing and participating in groups of protagonists more recently on the streets and in the news.
To make an appointment to visit or for more information please send an email to: Hannah@marvin-gardens.org
PREVIOUS EXHIBITION: (ONLINE ONLY)
ONLINE APRIL 5 – March 31, 2020
We find ourselves in difficult times, standing side by side in consciousness though not in body. Together in solidarity, surveying this new and shifting landscape evolving in front of us, one that is still very strange and morphing every day. As many of us are finding opportunities for slow and quiet reflection, we are also turning to many familiar forms of technological connectivity in new levels of focus. In this context I feel it is important to take this opportunity to share artwork that is particularly adept at bridging the gap into the personal and private space through electronic forms. Miná Minov has been operating in this space throughout his career in video works. Long one of my favorite living artists, he speaks to human boundaries in faceted ways, many more than can be articulated in this short space. From the depths of friendship, it’s my pleasure to share with you a selection of his video works on our website.
(film still from “I Flew” North Sofia, 2015)
A decade ago I was fortunate to meet Miná through accidental circumstances on a trip to his hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria. I needed a place to stay for an additional month and he generously set me up to live in his studio. Over the course of that next month we hung out leisurely, bonding through humor, music, and eventually artwork. We hiked in the mountains bordering the city, ran from wild dogs, shot a few of his video works, and spoke of future plans. We were in our late 20’s.
During this time I had a close view on the artist’s process. Miná slowly develops an idea and tests materials, often building a crude construction to perform a pared-down physical task. Much time is spent in quiet contemplation punctuated by functional questions. Eventually this culminates in video documentation and usually very minimal editing in postproduction.
Miná’s video works unfold mutually between viewer and performer. At times the shadow of a tripod may intrude into the frame, at another time the tripod itself, and on a special occasion, Miná himself might turn and look at the camera. This gaze is not that of a performer but of a comrade discovering the moment with you, acknowledging that you are both playing this game of discovery together. Within this exchange, the works also seem to ask that ever-pertinent perceptual question: “How much do we change what we observe merely through the act of observing it?”
At a time when we have been forced to retreat indoors and slow down our lives, Miná’s videos feel particularly viewable. His practice and oeuvre can continue undisturbed despite a world currently in lockdown. With an environmentally neutral practice, Miná thoughtfully constructs filmic situations using whatever materials are at hand. This often leads to an Arte Povera-like aesthetic. Homemade mechanical contraptions, antique pulleys, and reclaimed seatbelt harnesses and handlebars attached to crudely built platforms give the filmed image an activated sculptural quality, as well as an immediate artifactual presence.
Far from home, sitting in self-isolation in London during this global pandemic, and now feeling the pain of this infection inside my own lungs, with the added fear of the unknown, I find myself prone to see these works with a more dramatic, humanist, and existential tone. From then to now, Miná remains steady, undisturbed, plodding forward as the same wandering poet I first encountered. He presents us with videos that have human parameters, their duration and speed determined by the capacities of the human body. These reflexive parameters picture moments of our selves, exploring through physical limitations, and somewhere within these limitations we have a path to find experiences that will continue to indicate to us incremental notions of who we are.
April 5, 2020 – London