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Izabella Ortiz: Water Memories
Mar 22-Apr 28
Izabella Ortiz currently lives in France, but she has lived in Alaska and Australia. Her work reflects the songlines of visionary cultures.
The word oceanic evokes watery expansions and infinite depth, a world where whales and leviathans move wraith-like in blue viscosity. This is a different place than that drawn and painted by Izabella Ortiz.
She has swallowed the oceanic, internalized the sea, and kept visibility not to great inchoate depths, but to the messy and tangled intensity of close proximity. There are creatures, plants, and the almost psychotropic movement of line and atmosphere. She combines water, blood, rain and currents.
What differentiates her from the almost omnipresent horror vacuii of so many of the artists in the category of Art Singulier in Europe and in Outsider Art in the United States, is her complete control of asymmetrical balance. She merges the forward, backward, above and below, reinforcing the viewers’ gaze by presenting a pervading aquatic sense of mystery. There is something new every time one looks at an Izabella Ortiz painting.
Her titles give us some insight. Here are a few samples: Songes Infuses (infused dreams), L’ecume des Songes (Residue of Dreams) No. 2, Cracheuse de Songe (Spitting Dream), Water Spells.
This is her first solo exhibition in the United States. It is also the first time her new series of large paintings have been exhibited anywhere. We believe she has transcended category. We are privileged to introduce her art in this exhibition.
Storytellers: Path to the Known
Mar 22-Apr 28
We are pleased to present this exhibition of Melanie Ferguson’s group of ceramic sculptures called Storytellers: Path to the Known.
Ferguson creates artworks that feel like shrine objects for natural altars, completely contemporary pieces found centuries later tucked behind waterfalls or the fissures in caves and tide pools. The sophistication has metaphysical finessing they seem covered in spontaneous asemic writing, a quality immediately rendering them comfortable in the skins of their differentness. It is clay wearing the tattoos of timelessness.
Even the less ornate pieces (all called Storytellers) have an animist presence full of deep sky and charged sea-foam, the occult presence of ravens, owls, and crows. There is also obsessiveness to her work in general that is generous and universal rather than solipsistic. We don’t have to understand the words to absorb the language and intentions of these technically immaculate sculptures. We absorb it and understand much of it non-verbally. This is exactly what Melanie Ferguson wants, that we use the subliminal references on the surfaces of these pieces to find familiar gathering points of human consciousness. To this effect she says: To summarize these works, there is a land use planning term, wayfinding, that refers to creating community signs - icons, logos, maps - that lead to a community gathering place.
Melanie Ferguson is coming into her own recognition as a great American ceramist. We feel privileged to be able to showcase this important series of work.