“Water, Water… 8 Strange Days in the City That Never Sleeps”
Sharon Butler * Matt Enger * Elisa Bates * Ronnie Landfield * Edie Nadelhaft * Samantha Keely Smith * Bruce Stiglich * Austin Thomas
Exhibition Dates: November 12 - 19, 2013
The Gallery will be open each of the show’s 8 days from 11am – 6pm.
Thursday, November 14, 2013 6-8pm
Image: Ronnie Landfield, Dawning Light 5, 2009, 31” x 23”, acrylic on canvas
Kianga Ellis Projects is pleased to host Water, Water…8 Strange Days in the City That Never Sleeps, a special group exhibition of works by New York and New Jersey artists whose work or practice has been deeply affected by water. Water, Water… was organized by Edie Nadelhaft to commemorate the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Mirroring the historical time span of the storm’s initial impact on the city, the show will last for just eight days, marking the time between the surge, and end of the widespread power outage and a strange, disorienting interlude in NYC history.
New Yorkers pride themselves on being impervious to many things, natural disasters chief among them. “Bad Things Happen When You Leave The City,” goes the Manhattan Mini Storage slogan (which is often paired with an exemplary image such as a car crushed under a fallen tree). But what happens when “bad things” are not held at bay? On October 29, 2012, many New Yorkers found themselves face to face with concerns that have historically been the territory of Gulf Coasters and residents of island nations. The arrival of Hurricane Sandy plunged much of the city into darkness, and ushered in a week-long period of suspended animation. The havoc wreaked by the storm was unprecedented in this part of the world.
Artists and galleries were particularly hard hit by the flooding on the West side of Manhattan; many of them are still struggling with the aftermath one year later. Over night, water was transformed from building block of life or backdrop for happy childhood memories, to a massive disruptor at best, something inspiring more respect than delight.
On a more positive note, the displacement brought about by the storm opened up an unusual gap in NYC’s collective calendar, making space and time available for chance encounters and unscheduled creative and social gatherings. Suddenly there was time for a couple of displaced artists to simply come together and draw for a few stolen moments, to commiserate on the endless bus rides up and down the island, or to share a moment with strangers while charging your cell phone at a bank or coffee house in the “power” zone.
“Super Storm Sandy” caused many New Yorkers to reevaluate their own relationship to that most basic, elemental substance: water. This exhibition will serve as both a respectful acknowledgement of the power and indifference of nature, and a celebration of triumph over adversity and over-scheduling.
Elisa Bates is filmmaker, art director and graphic designer whose debut documentary film AWAY looks at the subculture of NYC surfing through the lens of three women riding waves at Rockaway Beach. AWAY premiered at the New York Surf Film Festival (NYC 2012) and has since been screened at the Queens World Film Festival (NYC 2013), and internationally at festivals in New Zealand, Spain and the Netherlands.
Painter Sharon Butler is represented by Pocket Utopia (New York, NY) and blogs at Two Coats of Paint. Currently she is affiliated with Brown University and the University of Connecticut.
American born painter, Matt Enger founded Exploding Sky Worldwide, a fine art and silkscreen studio on New York’s Lower East Side in the late 80’s with Mark Enger, his identical twin Brother and artistic collaborator. Matt has shown in New York since his first exhibition at the Universal Limited Art Editions Gallery in 1990. His work inspires the present and seeks new ways of looking at mortality and pure color. Matt is represented by the Christopher Henry Gallery NYC.
Samantha Keely Smith is a NYC-based painter by way of Harlow, England whose lyrical abstract paintings address the space between inner life and the external world. Her work has been exhibited throughout the US and abroad, including a recent solo show at Gavin Spanierman (NYC 2011) and Under the Radar at DUMBO Project Space (NYC 2010).
Ronnie Landfield’s large-scale, abstract, paintings are, in the artist’s own words “depictions of intuitive expressions using color as language and the landscape as a metaphor for the arena of life.” His work is included in the permanent collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC) and The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL) among others. Recent exhibitions include Stephen Haller Gallery (solo, NYC 2012) and “After The Rain” at LewAllen Galleries (solo, Santa Fe, NM 2013). Ronnie’s ongoing plight after Hurricane Sandy was chronicled in the New York Times.
NYC-based artist Edie Nadelhaft’s realist oil paintings and slick, technology-inspired sculptures are informed by her fascination with the natural world and the impact of digital culture on visual experience. Her work has been shown at galleries and art fairs throughout the US, and internationally in Shanghai, China and Basel, Switzerland. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include Femalenergy III, at Woodward Gallery, (NYC 2013), and Face-To-Face at The Yellowstone Art Museum (Billings, MT, 2014).
New Jersey-based artist and educator Bruce Stiglich’s evocative paintings and assemblage works are based on visual memory and emotional resonance. Recent solo exhibitions include Black Box Exchanges at White Box Gallery (NYC 2012) and Accumulation/Hallucination at The Kent Place Gallery (Summit, NJ 2012).
Austin Thomas is a visual and social practice artist whose work is in the permanent collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Recent solo shows include; Heiner Contemporary (Washington, DC 2012) and Robert Lehman Art Center (North Andover, MA 2013). Thomas is also director and curator of Pocket Utopia, a gallery on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.