Unearthed by JC
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. ― Henry David Thoreau
Mindy Solomon Gallery is pleased to introduce the curatorial talents of Joe Chira AKA JC the Art Consultant in an exhibition entitled Unearthed by JC. Diverse and dynamic, the show is an expression of his passion for contemporary art and innovative mark making. A self-described art junky and exuberant collector, Chira discusses his interest:
“Art has been a passion of mine ever since I was a kid. When I started art consulting, I loved discovering artists and following their journey. While everyone was focused on figurative paintings I have always been drawn to abstraction. Abstract art enhances the creative energy of people and gives them the freedom to explore their emotions. Abstract art is all about the departure from reality. Reality is subjective, and it’s up to the viewer to define it. With this show I want to take the viewer into a space of energy and authenticity. I have chosen these artists because for me, they represent what is happening in contemporary abstraction right now. I love introducing artists that are unknown to people or may have never been shown in Miami. With this exhibition I will be able to bring my vision to fruition.”
For Unearthed, Chira has assembled a group of artists that range from emerging to well established mid-career painters. His interest in vibrant color and explosive patterning is evident in the works chosen. For example, artists Trudy Benson, Russell Tyler, Jonathan Casella and Matt Phillips all utilize repetitious line and shape in various ways. Trudy Benson’s vibrant, slashing yellow lines play against a black and white check pattern creating a unique relationship between positive and negative space. Jonathan Casella’s painting becomes more of an amorphous shape composed of patterned lines and forms against a background of bold letters that represent his signature as well as additional pigmented cut outs. Matt Philips also employs diagonal lines as a compositional element while colors appear much more muted and transparent. Russell Tyler utilizes vibrant rectangular forms that appear like piano keys playing a highly saturated florescent melody. Another fan of neon, Ali Smith articulates her heavily impasto surfaces with neon color and densely built-up brush marks to create a hidden abstract jungle. This methodology also appears to be a current running through the exhibition.
Catherine Haggarty, Natalie Westbrook, Bill Saylor and Erik Foss create frenzied canvases that evince an urban vibe. Channeling street art and graffiti, the paintings draw the viewer into articulated recognizable forms. Whether overt portraits, animal shapes, and floating organic matter, the energy of their works is palpable.
Ammon Rost and Elaine Stocki are mark makers. There is a tentative gentility to the gestures of Rost and an organic softness in the raw canvases of Stocki. One feels as though they are spying on the artists, watching them drawing their first breath through line.
Unearthed by JC is a wonderful survey of contemporary abstraction by some of the most innovative painters making work today. Exposing an array of techniques and styles, Chira shows his investigatory practices yield great results.
About the Artists
Ammon Rost is a Tokyo born, Los Angeles and New York City based artist who received his BFA from UCLA. His work has been shown in solo shows at Ltd Los Angeles and New Image Art; as well as group shows with Loyal Gallery in Sweden, Sargent’s Daughters in New York, Wilding Cran Gallery in LA,WIP Gallery in Beirut, and the Torrance Museum of Art; and featured in Autre, Office Magazine, Art & Cake LA, and Artinfo amongst otherpublications. He is having his debut international solo exhibition in Stockholm with Loyal Gallery in 2022.
By abstracting people, places, and objects that hold special meaning, his goal is to create a painting that can function like a poem. Having the capacity of renewing its freshness upon each read. Colors and individual characters that can talk to each other, are able to have a conversation. In abstract art, there is a lack of direct reference to identifiable forms, and puts greater demands on the viewer’s imagination. The viewer is allowed to participate, becoming the creator. Builder of their own narrative. Ammon’s belief is that abstract art plays all the best tricks on your brain and challenges it to rewire, reimagine.
Bill Saylor has held solo exhibitions at Magenta Plains, New York, NY; Leo Koenig Inc., New York, NY; The Journal Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; and Loyal Gallery, Stockholm, SE. Two-person shows include “Bill Saylor & Josh Smith” at Hiromi Yoshii Gallery, Tokyo, JP; “Bill Saylor & Aidas Bareikis” at Shoot The Lobster, New York, NY; “Bill Saylor & Donald Baechler” at Makebish, New York, NY; and “Mason Saltarrelli and Bill Saylor” at Shrine, New York, NY. Saylor was included in “Animal Farm” at the Brant Foundation and has participated in group exhibitions at Venus Over Manhattan, NY; CANADA, New York, NY; Martos Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; MIER Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Ceysson & Bénétière, Luxembourg and Yerba Buena Art Center, San Francisco, CA. Saylor’s work was also included in “Contemporary Painting” curated by Alex Katz at the Colby College Museum of Art in 2004. In 2010, Saylor collaborated on the zine “Ho Bags” with Harmony Korine and he was an artist-in-residence at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, TX. Bill Saylor lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Natalie Westbrook is a painter working at the intersection of abstraction and figuration to provoke the precarious balance between humanity, culture, and the natural world.
Westbrook received her BFA from The Cooper Union, her MA in Critical and Curatorial Studies from the University of Louisville, and her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from the Yale University School of Art where she received the Robert Schoelkopf Memorial Travel Grant, and the Carol Schlosberg Memorial Prize for Excellence in Painting.
Westbrook has exhibited internationally, including shows with Rarity Gallery, Mykonos, Greece; Galleri Golsa, Oslo, Norway; Artformosa, Taipei City, Taiwan; Paris Contemporary Art Show, Paris, France; Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY; Freight+Volume, New York, NY; Interstate Projects, Brooklyn, NY; the B3 Biennial of the Moving Image in Frankfurt, Germany; Wonzimer Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; and Reynolds Gallery, Richmond, VA. The artist’s work is held in private and public collections, including Markel Corporation, Red Bank, NJ; Capital One, Richmond, VA; and Art Bank Program, US Department of State, Washington, DC; and Haleakala
National Park, Maui, HI.
Westbrook was appointed Lecturer in Painting at Yale University from 2010-2018, and currently teaches at Carnegie Mellon University where she lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA.
Ali Smith Bio coming soon
Catherine Haggarty, b. 1984, is an artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Haggarty’s paintings and curatorial work have been reviewed by and featured in Bomb Magazine, Hyperallergic, Artnet, Two Coats of Paint, Brooklyn Magazine, The New York Times, Maake Magazine, Art Maze Magazine, The Observer, Art Spiel, Artsy, and Sound and Vision Podcast. Solo exhibitions include: Massey Klein Gallery (NYC), This Friday Next Friday (Brooklyn), Bloomsburg University (PA), One River School of Art and Design, Proto Gallery (NJ), and Look and Listen in Marseille France. Select group exhibitions include Morgan Lehman, Hollis Taggart, The Honolulu Museum, Projet Pangee, Hashimoto Contemporary, Markel Fine Art, Geary Contemporary and Mindy Solomon Gallery. Visiting artist & lecturer appointments include: Boston University MFA (2021), Hunter MFA (2020), Denison University, Ohio (2020), Purchase MFA (2019), Brooklyn College MFA (2019), and in 2018 Haggarty was the Anderson Endowed Lecturer at Penn State University. Haggarty earned her M.F.A from Mason Gross, Rutgers University in 2011. Currently, Haggarty is an adjunct professor at The School of Visual Arts (SVA) and also co-founded and co-directs the NYC Crit Club.
Elaine Stocki bio coming soon.
Erik Foss bio coming soon.
Jonathan Casella (b. 1986, Houston, TX) holds a BA from San Francisco State University, CA. He has exhibited widely, including venues in Los Angeles, South Korea, Montreal and New York. Jonathan Casella lives and works in Los Angeles.
Matt Phillips is a painter living in Brooklyn, NY. His works often employ fundamental elements of painting: simple shapes, modulated values and color relationships. These rather rudimentary components are combined and remixed to produce unexpected outcomes. Color, shape, mark and form engage one another in both strange and familiar ways, becoming tense, humorous, quirky and ultimately meaningful. Matt Phillips has had solo exhibitions at The Landing Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Reynolds Gallery, Richmond, VA; Direktorenhaus Museum, Berlin, Germany; Studio d’Arte Raffaelli, Trento, Italy; Devening Projects, Chicago, IL and Steven Harvey, New York, NY. He has participated in group exhibitions at Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Hollis Taggart, New York, NY; Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson, NY; and Ampersand Gallery, Portland, OR. He has been an artist-in-residence at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. Matt is a professor of art at Fashion Institute of Technology (NY, NY).
Russell Tyler bio coming soon
Trudy Benson is a contemporary American painter best known for her large-scale abstract compositions utilizing hyperbolized gestures such as extreme impasto, hyper-saturation, and alliterated marks. Her resulting compositions feature playful visual references to 1980s graphic design and early computing through bold, cartoonish imagery. “For me, painting has everything to do with the nature of paint at the surface as a viscose, sculptural material, color as a mutable component, and a contemporary painting vocabulary as inclusive of digital imaging techniques as well as historical painting tropes,” she has explained. Born in 1985 in Richmond, VA, Benson received a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University before earning her MFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Benson has enjoyed widespread recognition for her large-scale paintings, showing her work in solo exhibitions at Freight + Volume Gallery, Horton Gallery, Lisa Cooley, and Half Gallery. The artist continues to live and work in New York, NY.