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Ryan Lee

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Martine Gutierrez: Indigenous Woman
Sep 06-Oct 20
Martine Gutierrez Indigenous Woman September 6 – October 20, 2018 Reception: Thursday, September 6, 6–8pm Letter From The Editor: This is not a magazine about fashion, lifestyle, or celebrity. Indigenous Woman is an independent art publication dedicated to the celebration of Mayan Indian heritage, the navigation of contemporary indigeneity, and the ever-evolving self-image. It is a vision, an overture, a provocation. The word “indigenous” here is used to refer to native cultures from a particular region, but also as a synonym for the natural and innate. It signifies a real, authentic, native-born woman. There was a time when I believed there was no such title for me to claim. I was driven to question how identity is formed, expressed, valued, and weighed as a woman, as a transwoman, as a latinx woman, as a woman of indigenous descent, as a femme artist and maker? It is nearly impossible to arrive at any finite answers, but for me, this process of exploration is exquisitely life-affirming. In working to convey my own fluid identity—an identity that brides the binaries of gender and ethnicity—I aim in part to subvert cis, white, Western standards of beauty and raise questions about inclusivity, appropriation, and consumerism. From behind long lashes and lacquered lips, I use the fashion magazine’s glossy framework to play with perception. I employ mannequins, advertorials, and indigenous textiles to reassert control over my own image. Mine is a practice of full autonomy—all photography, modeling, styling, makeup, hair, lighting, graphic design, and product design I have executed myself. Indigenous Woman marries the traditional to the contemporary, the native to the post-colonial, and the marginalized to the mainstream in the pursuit of genuine selfhood, revealing cultural inequities along the way. This is a quest for identity. Of my own specifically, yes, but by digging my pretty, painted nails deeply into the dirt of my own image I am also probing the depths for some understanding of identity as a social construction. It is also my ambition to forge a connection between the art world and my community. While it is my desire for Indigenous Woman to provide some sustenance for my fellow millennial nonbinary transwomen of color, I sincerely hope that all audiences will find the work compelling and captivating. I believe it is possible to create an empathetic and supportive society, but it requires that we all educate ourselves, that we learn to be allies and activists who understand our own privilege. Mutual understanding has the power to change the world. Editor-in-Chief Martine Gutierrez Martine Gutierrez (b. 1989 Berkeley, CA) received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2012. She draws from eclectic media, acting as subject, artist and muse. Through performance, photography and film, Gutierrez documents her personal transformations by embodying various imagined personas. Gutierrez has been included in exhibitions at Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, NY Lowe Gallery at Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY MOCA GA, Atlanta, GA and Vincent Price Art Museum, Monterey Park, CA. Recent solo exhibitions include Martine Gutierrez: True Story at Boston University Art Gallery and WE & THEM & ME at Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh in North Carolina. For press inquiries, please contact Bridget Casey at bridget@ryanleegallery.com or 212-397-0742.


Michael Mazur: Late Work, Rain and Flowers
Oct 25-Dec 22
RYAN LEE is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Michael Mazur (1935–2009). Known for his virtuosic facility with painting, drawing and printmaking, Mazur remains celebrated for his relentless drive to create and reinvent. Late Work, Rain and Flowers presents a selection of paintings and previously unexhibited drawings that were made in the final years of Mazur’s life. Throughout a career that spanned more than half a century, Mazur explored a range of styles, techniques and subject matter. He often worked in series and in various media at once, experimenting with stencils, airbrushing and printing on silk. Content impelled him, whether he was responding to social injustice or absorbing aesthetic traditions of the Far East. As Mazur explained to Robert Brown in an a 1993 interview for the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, “…content drove my engine, but the form always interested me, in terms of its relationship to the content… form-making, the facture of making paintings or drawings or prints, that has interested me and had its influence on me throughout all the work.” This mutually constitutive relationship between form and content in Mazur’s oeuvre is particularly evident in the stylistic divergence between these two late bodies of work. While each treats an elemental form of nature, the fragility of the flower drawings presents a stark contrast to the power and dynamism of the pounding rain in the oil paintings. In the Rain paintings the viewer is subsumed, both caught in torrential downpour and somehow under water. The simultaneous horizontality and verticality in Bay Rain III (2009) suggests visual access from above as well as head-on while also presenting a Rorschach-like reflection of itself. Combined with rocks and ripples rendered in turquoise, cerulean and lavender, the resulting image evokes creation and disintegration. By contrast, Mazur’s floral drawings are delicate and minimal. Despite limited mobility during a period of recovery in the last year of his life, he produced over 100 ink drawings of plants and flowers—many of which had been given to him by his wife or observed in his own garden. Executed in black ink, these intimately scaled images seem to hover, emerging and receding from the negative space. Taken together these last works by Mazur illustrate the dueling potentialities of nature and art. As Mazur explained when the Rain paintings were first exhibited in 2009, shortly before his death, “all good and great paintings provide a whiff of mortality and, ultimately, are a celebration of the life force they are both the tunnel and the light at its end... Light and dark, color and its absence, form and anti-form all contribute to this.” Michael Mazur (1935 New York, NY – 2009 Boston, MA) is an internationally recognized artist known for his fluidity between paintings, drawings and prints as well as between abstract and representational imagery. Born and raised in New York City, Mazur moved to Massachusetts in 1953 and received his BA from Amherst College. He received his BFA and MFA from Yale University in 1959 and 1961, respectively, and he was later heralded by The Boston Globe as one of the greatest painters and printmakers that New England produced in the second half of the 20th century. Mazur first exhibited in 1960 and quickly earned acclaim, receiving a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation award and an American Academy of Arts and Letters fellowship in just two years. Mazur was invited to represent the United States in the 1975 Venice Biennale, but he declined to participate in protest of the Vientam War. Over the next 50 years, he was the subject of more than 80 solo exhibitions and included in numerous group shows. In 2000, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston held a retrospective which traveled to Stanford University Art Museum, the Jane Vorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Mazur’s work is held in several prominent collections, including the British Museum, London Cincinnati Art Museum Cleveland Museum of Art de Cordova Museum, Lincoln Los Angeles County Museum of Art Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Art Institute of Chicago McNay Art Museum, San Antonio Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Museum of Modern Art, New York Philadelphia Museum of Art Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven and Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. For press inquiries, please contact Bridget Casey at bridget@ryanleegallery.com or 212-397-0742.