NEW YORK, NY.- Lesley Heller
presents the sculptures and wall pieces of Dana Melamed. It is her first show with the gallery. This exhibition represents an important milestone in Melameds work, namely the transition from wall pieces with three dimensional elements to sculptures, expanding her narrative of the ongoing power struggle between humanity and nature.
In her previous exhibitions, Melamed has been dealing with the effects of human aggression against nature and mankind. The primal drive for survival is ingrained in both the human organism and nature, thus the struggle is a never ending cycle. In her new work, Melamed is disengaging from the walls to create sculptures in the form of bio-mechanical structures, symbolizing the outcome of the struggle. She focuses on DNA, the genetic code programmed into every living organism, which dictates much of its behavior. Battle lines are drawn at the transitional voids, and each DNA is driving its organism into the opponents environment, to fill the voids and claim it as its own.
Melameds use of organic materials alongside industrial ones, and destructive techniques, such as scorching and slashing, all support this narrative. The use of fire in her process fuses the pieces together as well as destroys certain elements in the work. Mechanical tendrils grow organically on the surface and into the space around it. Melamed: The nature of this struggle, for survival, is what makes it so violent.
Dana Melamed is an Israeli native and has worked in New York for the past 7 years. She has exhibited at The National Academy, New York, NY, The Neuberger Museum, Purchase, NY, and The Hunterdon Museum, Clinton, NJ, as well as leading galleries in the US ad Europe.
Gallery 2: Limited Engagement curated by Krista Saunders. Limited Engagement uses artist Andrea Zittels insight that having rules can be constructive and can catalyze creative impulses as a point of departure. The exhibition showcases the work of six emerging artists who welcome limitation, rules and structure into their practice. Their work proves that minimal resources or a restrictive premise can yield complex and thought-provoking results. As artists who continue to innovate during an economic downturn, Laura Cooperman, Jennifer Grimyser, Mayumi Ishino, Kelly Murphy, Devin Powers and Sam Vernon demonstrate the liberating effect of external or self-imposed limitations.
The daughter and granddaughter of architects, Laura Cooperman has always incorporated structure into her artistic process. In her recent series, Paper Cuttings, Cooperman creates intricate, three-dimensional paper projections that employ movement and appear delicate yet sturdy. Paper Cuttings conveys the scale and the fragile conceptual underpinnings of ambitious, yet often generic, urban planning strategies.
Jennifer Grimyser creates her own rule-based experiments by exploiting the visual potential of a singular word, motif or letter for a prescribed period of time. She uses this textual clue to construct abstract patterns, portraiture, clever, self-referential puns and even sound. In Suddenly Inhale, Inhale Suddenly, the artist gradually creates a moment of suspense by repeatedly writing the text. The viewer, drawn in by the meticulously etched phrase in the form of a pattern, mimics the command as their eye draws nearer to a cliff depicted in the center of the composition.
Mayumi Ishinos performances operate within well-defined parameters. In Mirror, the artist draws her self portrait using nothing more than a series of small mirrors and markers. She then proceeds to smash the mirror with a hammer before repeating the process and ensnaring her audience in a spellbinding cycle of repetition.
In 2008, Kelly Murphy embarked on a prolonged Suburban Sabbatical by removing herself from the urban artist communities that had nurtured her in her adult life, and returning to her childhood home in New Jersey. Since then she has continued to mine the familiar yet foreign environment of her childhood home and Catholic upbringing. This ongoing investigation into both self imposed and external structures has led to several experiments using a variety of materials to explore the full range of a singular motif.
Devin Powers employs geometric rigor in executing contained galaxies of epic proportions despite their large or modest scale. His economic use of line and color inevitably evolve into a neat refined space that manages to evoke his intuitive handling. In both Relation and Puzzle, it is evident that Powers intimately grasps the potential of deceptively rigid mathematical structures to activate awe, emotion and curiosity in the viewer.
Sam Vernon creates robust, all encompassing environments using a strict black-and-white color palette often produced by the ubiquitous Xerox copier. Gravitating towards phantoms and ghostly ancestral figures, she creates large-scale paper tapestries wherein these forms are often repeated to near abstraction. Intensely faithful to her binary color palette and its intrinsic symbolic value, Vernon deftly navigates through drawing, painting, photography and printmaking to pay homage to the past while revising the traditional ghost story to address post colonialism, race, sexuality, and historical memory.