Untitled by Chang Park courtesy Pep Gallery, Brooklyn NY
“Downright” Closing Reception, Pink Elephant Projects’ Gallery, November 9, 2007
-Angel Baker for White Hot Magazine
Joe Weiner and Tricia Wimmer’s collaboration with Jashar Awan for the “Downright” Exhibition at Pink Elephant Projects’ Gallery in Brooklyn is quickly coming to a close. In a serenade to Awan’s first time as a curator, the gallery hosted a bon voyage reception including many of the forty artists whose work is on display. Like squeezing into a pair of wool tights at winter’s onset, many came to the tidy space to adore the nearly eighty highly distinctive pieces for a few rainy hours on a cool November night.
Awan, whose commissioned illustrations can be found from east coast to west in the New York Times to The Stranger (the list goes on and on), was humble about the undertaking. His own dedication to art is fueled merely by the love of the process of making it. His focus in putting the show together was simply bringing together several artists whose work he admired from close friends to professors to complete strangers. Perhaps this is why the exhibition has an oddly American-quilt-like feel. There is not one singular focus to the show, yet as a unit each of the many works mold together like a shanty town under rolling hot lava. The same rushing urgency that chases down the doomed picket fence seems to swallow Awan’s “Downright.” He has crafted a drama with the space with no forced direction to the flow. In each corner is the show’s most important piece; on each wall the show stopper. In essence, “Downright” is a very well balanced show of affection to a family of forty. It’s a testimony to both Awan’s earnest approach to the artists he admires and to an eclectic aesthetic that is at once sweetly satisfying and severe.
Chang Park’s “Untitled” study in mixed media is one example of the severe. His human representation strips to the bone the essence of the figure. Yet, forcing the form into dissident shapes and dimensions, the face appears eerily protracted and schizophrenic. Likewise, Sam Weber’s “Fuschia” (ink on paper) is a mesmerizing rendering of a young girl in the most innocent of environs. In black and white, “Fuschia” exudes a sage-like wisdom though she could very well be up to no good. She’s bruised in shadows and smothered in wild hair, impish and lawless. On the other hand, Ilana Kohn’s “Float” and Sara Antoinette Martin’s “Downright Dispicable” are perfect examples of the sweet and satisfying. Playing with ways to dynamically portray the figure, Kohn’s “Float” (acrylic and collage) was created specifically for “Downright”. In bold reds and blues, it yields a nascent vitality that is both lofty and soothing. Martin’s “Downright Dispicable” (acrylic on wood) offers another striking visual experience. The object of the panel is commanding while her floating body-less companions pleasantly adorn the piece like a soft buttercream. www.pepgallery.com.