SouthportReunion: A Group Exhibition
Hollis Taggart in Southport presents Reunion, A Group Exhibition featuring recent paintings and sculptures by ten contemporary artists many who are formally associated with the gallery and are based in Athens, Brooklyn, Denver, Los Angeles, Vienna, and upstate New York.
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Reuniting many of our artists to celebrate the first anniversary of Hollis Taggart’s opening in Southport, Reunion highlights each artist’s particular style, technique, medium, themes, and intentions while showcasing enthralling works that represent the latest developments in contemporary art. As we emerge from COVID restrictions, Reunion, also welcomes back our artists, collector base and Connecticut community. Curated by Paul Efstathiou, Director of Contemporary Art, the exhibition includes works by gallery artists William Buchina, Leah Guadagnoli, André Hemer, Dana James, Tim Kent, John Knuth, Suchitra Mattai, and Alexandros Vasmoulakis as well as Elise Ansel and Anna Pietrzak.
“As we approach our first anniversary in our Southport location, we are extremely happy with the success of our programming over the past year and look forward to continuing to expose our artists to our growing Connecticut collector base,” said Paul Efstathiou. “Reunion includes paintings and sculptures that are outstanding examples of varied contemporary styles, techniques and themes and together create a sensational grouping. We are excited to continue to safely welcome visitors to the gallery as we approach a post-pandemic world.”
Several artists in the exhibition use their personal history or historical source material to express broader themes of identity and/or to examine current social and political struggles. Driven by her Guyanese and Indian heritage and working in various processes such as embroidery, sewing and painting, Suchitra Mattai investigates how colonialism has disrupted and shaped the lives of people, particularly woman. William Buchina, adhering to a Surrealist formula, juxtaposes unexpected images and symbols from various source materials and deconstructs human rituals to deliver curious and utopian worlds that astutely examine social and/or political discord. Tim Kent creates multi-planed interior spaces with nebulous figures and dissolving structures. His paintings are glimpses into the influence of the past, how histories construct our present and leave traces amidst the new.
Other artists explore noteworthy techniques and materials to create unique abstractions. John Knuth employs an army of household flies that ingest and regurgitate paint to create pointillistic compositions that are metaphors for the dense urban landscapes of Los Angeles. André Hemer, uses a multi-step process utilizing a digital scanner resulting in sculptural and gestural canvases that masterfully include both physicals objects and their digital representation. Leah Guadagnoli’s sculptural paintings are constructed from various geometric shapes made of textile-wrapped foam insulation, plexiglass, painted pumice stone, and acrylic painted canvas resulting in meticulously engineered works that feel organic and free-form. By repetitively applying, scraping, and dissolving layers of homemade crayons, oils and acrylic on canvases, Alexandros Vasmoulakis creates explosive and probing colorful forms and shapes that reference cubism, abstract expressionism, and street art.
Parallels can be made with the works by Dana James, Anna Pietrzak and Elise Ansel as they each subscribe to the vocabulary and concepts driving abstract art. Dana James, applies desaturated oils, gestural markings, and thinly applied wax to multi-paneled and raw canvases to create works that deliberately juxtapose contrasting themes of imagined suburbias versus natural elements, peace versus abandonment, and fear versus confidence. In addition, James’ works represent the hazy sensations of faraway and dreamlike memories. Similarly, Anna Pietrzak’s paintings evoke a sense of tension. Working with delicate foils of gold leaf applied to stark white acrylic canvases, Pietrzak builds defined and organic shapes that lean into each other and gracefully touch yet are teetering on the edge of collapse. Decoding Old Masters paintings into a contemporary and feminine vernacular, Elise Ansel spontaneously and instinctively paints small and gestural works that inform her larger more cerebral and constrained compositions.
Courtesy of the artists and Hollis Taggart