What defines a community – a region, a people or an ethos? In consideration of this questions, the NARS Foundation is delighted to present the inaugural South-West Brooklyn Exhibition, Threaded Archetypes, curated by Margaret Flanagan. Bringing together twenty artists from the southern region of Brooklyn, the discourse assembled addresses different archetypes of community. As conceived by Carl Jung, archetypes are images and thoughts with universal meaning that are understood across time and cultures. They are embedded in the human psyche forming a communal sensibility that extends beyond borders. Threaded Archetypes began with an open call for a certain region (South-West Brooklyn), and through painting, installation, video, printmaking, and sculpture, the archetypes deftly explored though the work in this exhibition bring us back to the body, culture, technology, and the urban environment.
The body and its interactions within a larger context is at the base of any idea of community. Noël St. John Harnden’s painting investigates bodily movement within its surroundings while Christina Massey’s paintings form an interesting dialogue through the integration of clothes donated by bank employees during the peak of the Recession. Ellen Coleman Izzo’s collograph work highlights the widespread problem of homelessness and reflects concern with the body’s place in the city or lack thereof. The photographs by Elizabeth Smolarz depict the portrait of her model through the objects that they hold most important and what will be left when they are gone. Yunjung Kang deftly delves into the bodily interior to juxtapose the interior-exterior relationship, and Linda Lee Nicholas challenges the representation of the natural world and the body through constructed hybrids.
The works by Katarina Jerinic, Kate Sharkey, Simona Prives, and Elena Soterakis are directly influenced by the construction and mapping of the urban environment. Katarina Jerinic’s postcard and photograph series connects Red Hook, Brooklyn to Puerto Colombia, mapping the exchange between the two locations. Kate Sharkey utilizes layers and lines to detail the natural beauty of the urban environment and its inherent ties to humanity. Simona Prives’s digital collages take the Brooklyn landscape as source material in her efforts to examine the relationship between the organic and the man-made landscape while Elena Soterakis’s collages build on this relationship with a focus on ecocide, the destruction of the natural environment through human action.
Cultural attributes, often a dominate consideration in the quest for defining community, take many forms here. Rachel Chicaguala’s photographs reflect the intersection of cultures in families and the resulting alienation from society based on race. Continuing the conversation regarding the disconnect within society, Lara Nasser’s assembled sculptures challenge the viewer’s relationship to common objects and their purpose, creating anxiety. Frid Branham and Marlene Weisman consider the role of women in culture and aspects of “women’s work” such as weaving, caretaking, and shopping. Reflecting the lexicon of representational imagery, Rebecca Levitan and Suzanne Russell each build work through the use of symbols of people that reflect their unique culture. Brian Zegeer’s video animation tells the story of the Arab-American neighborhood “Little Syria” in Manhattan that has been slowly disappearing for decades.
Teachnology, psychology, and the subconscious are prevalent themes in the work of Jennifer Dwyer, Yana Dimitrova, and John Roach. Jennifer Dwyer’s ceramic sculptures reflect the human need to collect technology in order to stave off decay of self, while Yana Dimitrova examines people and public spaces digitally, creating close portraits of unwitting participants. John Roach’s three part video chronicles his time in the NAR Residency program through surveillance time-lapse footage of his studio.
Coming from different places, each artist is building an idea of union as they weave through the communal conscious of South-West Brooklyn in the pursuit of answers which many never fully emerge.
Participating Artists: Frid Branham, Rachel Chicaguala, Ellen Coleman Izzo, Yana Dimitrova, Jen Dwyer, Noël St. John Harnden, Katarina Jerinic, Yunjung Kang, Rebecca Levitan, Christina Massey, Lara Nasser, Linda Lee Nicholas, Simona Prives, John Roach, Suzanne Russell, Kate Sharkey, Elisabeth Smolarz, Elena Soterakis, Marlene Weisman, and Brian Zegeer.
The South-West Brooklyn Exhibition Program offers innovative visual artists with an opportunity for increased exposure to a diverse and broad audience. The program aims to engage artists in South-West Brooklyn in cross-pollination and dialogue through a curated group exhibition and contribute to the recognition of the region’s artists in the context of the greater New York art community.