REAL OP Closing Brunch & Artist Talk
Please join us this Sunday the 17th, the last day of REAL OP, for a (semi)-modest brunch and conversation with the three artists in the exhibition. The brunch is from 1pm until the table is cleared, while the artist talk is scheduled from 3pm until we run out of words.
Real Op looks at the relationship between the realistic and perceptual, or Op elements in the works of three local artists, Jeff Fichera, Cathy Nan Quinlan, and Aaron Williams, who share overlapping sensibilities and interests. These three artists use realism as a departure point, each of which to arrive, through routes of their own choosing, at surfaces
that visually vibrate and stimulate.
Op art, as a movement, grew in public interest through the late 50’s until well into the 1970’s with patterned, dizzying artworks by such key proponents as Victor Vasarely and
Bridget Riley, that pointedly trick and confounded the visual senses, centering on the very modus of seeing itself, and the mechanisms by which the human eye will process and order visual “reality”. With roots including Mondrian, Albers and the Bauhaus, this style of art, while residing in the tropes of all-over abstraction, had much more in common with the formalist progenitors of pictorial illusion than with the expressionists of their own day. Their sphere of interest was the science, math and immutable laws governing the assimilation of visual information; the tricks and techniques employed less the province of poetry or politics and more the domain of the material, the physiological and the real.
It is this sensibility and concern with the real that the artists within Real Op, take and turn on it’s head just a bit. In each of these artist’s visual abstractions, which exist comfortably within the qualifications of Op Art, their starting points are based in reality, upon observed phenomena. Their works, then, are not solely concerned with the mechanics of appearance and visual trompe l’oeil but also with the mechanics of seeing and the tried and true formalist dictates of responding to an observed world.
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Jeff Fichera’s works, though visually dazzling and sensuous, are sourced from considerably humble sources; dollar store gift bags, plastic trash bags, and tin foil. Through a process of intense examination and repetition, Fichera removes his source material from their original everyday contexts and transforms them into ruminations on tonal value, hue and light. Sharing an interest in Op Art’s original concerns with
movement and light, Fichera’s encompassing compositions are at once abstractions on perceived reality, and faithful reproductions of it.
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With a penchant toward dismantling and rebuilding her painterly works, Cathy Nan Quinlan creates work wherein pictorial space is asserted and then refuted as planer indications rise and collapse within her expansive arrangements. Working at times from inspirational starting points (the Morandi series) and from observed still life, Quinlan fills her works with objects that are abstracted through a deftly rendered treatment of cross-hatch marks. This flickering field nods to Op Art and Pointillism equally, and the objects and space within shift both into and out of recognition; underscoring the ephemeral nature of our observed “reality”, the verisimilitude of perception, and the fleeting quality of matter
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Aaron Williams creates his arresting visual constructions upon value-less printed ephemera including rock star posters, book pages, and landscape stock photographs.
These ubiquitous all-over images are then transformed, via destructive gesture (tearing, crumpling, slicing) into something completely new. These deconstructive gestures both undermine the supports of William’s chosen imagery while emphasizing the object-ness of the material at hand. The dazzling visual fields within William’s works are composed from a variety of minimal and carefully placed painterly additions. The resultant images straddle the line between recognizable image, playful riff on abstracted reality, and expressionist object with a cool remove that facilitates, rather than detracts from, critical consideration.
Parallel Art Space, formerly Camel Art Space, is an artist run exhibition space committed solely to exhibiting exceptional visual art. Located in one of New York’s premier art studio buildings and positioned on the border of two of New York City’s most densely artist-inhabited, culturally rich neighborhoods (Bushwick, Brooklyn and Ridgewood, Queens) we endeavor to provide an exhibition platform based on excellence, contribution and connectivity; serving the parallel interests of artists, community and culture alike.
17-17 Troutman Street - # 220 - Ridgewood NY 11385 •www.parallelartspace.com