Coincidental Opposites

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Coincidental Opposites
Curated by: Tracy Causey-Jeffery

29 Orchard Street
Lower East Side
Manhattan, NY 10002
July 16th, 2010 - August 23rd, 2010
Opening: July 16th, 2010 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Wed - Sat 11 am - 7 pm, Sun 12 noon - 6 pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday
photography, mixed-media, installation, modern, sculpture


BROOKLYN, NY, June 21, 2010 - For its Summer Group Show, Causey Contemporary is pleased to announce, “Coincidental Opposites” featuring the works of  R. L. Croft, Michel Demanche, Jordan Eagles, Cui Fei, Young Kim, Norman Mooney, Shen Chen* and Zane York. The opening reception at the gallery’s 92 Wythe Ave location will take place on Friday July 16th from 6- 9 pm. The public is invited to attend this event and visit the gallery during our summer hours, Wed - Fri 12 - 6 pm, Sat & Sun 12 - 6 pm and Mon 9 am to 4 pm.

Coincidental Opposites comes from the latin phrase “coincidentia oppositorum” and is a term used to describe the polarities or yin and yang of the universe.  Latin is not however the first language in which these terms were coined but rather in archaic Chinese when the 6th century  B.C. philosopher, Lao Tze began to suggest that “there can be no love without hate, no light without dark, no male without female.”   The Christian and Jewish Mystic traditions again put forth this philosophy in the 15th century with writers such as Nicholas of Cusa who voiced the concept as the “unity of contrarieties overcoming opposition by convergence without destroying or by merely blending the constituent elements.”   The alchemists of the period quickly adapted the term as synonymous with their fifth process, conjunction.  Later thinkers such as Meister Elkhart and G.W. F. Hegel further stretched the definition to hold that presumed polarities in thought don’t exclude one another but are actually necessary conditions for the assertion of their opposites.

Artists throughout all these time periods and indeed today have struggled to illustrate the coincidental opposites as they encountered them. Through their creations, their audiences have also been forced to consider this duality as well. It is this trait in art that we examine in a small way with this exhibition. The eight artists within the exhibition explore either obliquely through references or directly with their materials/symbols the coincidental opposites of  beauty and the grotesque, permanence and impermanence,  attraction and repulsion, solid and non solid, soft and hard, yielding and lethal as well as  full and empty.

Within their art, each of the eight artists utilize the coincidental opposites to help them approach the sublime, react to events in the world around them and/or give birth to new ideas or thought processes.Shen Chen* creates abstract ethereal minimalist paintings where the markings are so simple that it truly expresses the taoist opposites of “less is more”.  Meanwhile Norman Mooney’s carbon on paper drawings create a sense of pulsating depth on a flat surface and his glittering star sculpture  is comprised of dagger sharp spires , yet both draw the viewer into their space.  R.L. Croft’s Silo incorporates consumer and industrial materials to create a vessel based on a concrete structure which should be solid but is not and which moreover suggests mobility and impermanence.   Cui Fei’s installation Not Yet Titled creates a written “text” upon the wall using thorns - a strange type of braille.  Young Kim’s temporal figurative portraits created using salt and earth tap into the dichotomy of nature’s fleeting, yet permanent existence.  Michel Demanche’s photograph from her Beautiful Delmarva series is exquisitely printed and its black and white tonality sensual while its subject matter is very startling. Jordan Eagles’s aesthetic borders the fine line between beauty and the raw visceral life force, blood.  Using animal blood from slaughterhouses Eagles preserves the vitality and energy of the pieces encasing them in plexiglass and UV resin.  Lastly Zane York’s paintings illustrate decomposing taxidermy animal heads which he paints with a delicate renaissance touch.
That the eight artists included in the Coincidental Opposites exhibition come from widely varied backgrounds adds further dimension and dichotomy to the show. R.L. Croft and Michel Demanche both reside in Maryland though one on the western and one on the Eastern shores of the state.  R.L. Croft received his degrees from  Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond Va and went on to showcase his creations in Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C. And North Carolina.   He has curated exhibitions at School 33 in Baltimore, The Delaplaine in Frederick, MD  and Artspace Gallery in Richmond.   His work has been reviewed or published by the Baltimore Sun, the Washington Post, and others.  
Alternatively, Michel Demanche, a transplant to Maryland from her native Texas received her MA degree from North Texas State University.  She has had her prints, photographs, constructions and paintings included in exhibitions at such venues as the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Women’s Museum, and the Houston Art Museum among many others.  Her works are in the collections of Chase Bank, Frito Lay, E-Systems, Franklin Furnace Archives, The Houston Museum of Art, and the Livens Collection of Sheppart Pratt. 

Jordan Eagles, Norman Mooney, Cui Fie, Shen Chen and Zane York all reside in the New York city area but come again from divergent backgrounds. Jordan Eagles  grew up in the NY/NJ area and received his degree from New York University.   He has exhibited throughout  New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Georgia , Maryland California and even in Portugal.  In addition his paintings have received several awards and are in the permanent collection of the Prudential Center in New Jersey and the Bohlen Collection in Massachusetts.

Norman Mooney, while also based in New York City began his artistic career in Ireland, receiving his BFA degree from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin.   He has showcased his sculpture and drawings in exhibitions in Ireland, Spain and the United States.  His work was also recently in a two person, two city exhibition in NY and Singapore and he counts the Mint Museum, San francisco MOMA and  Richard and Helen DeVos among his collectors.

Shen Chen began painting in his native China and received his BFA from Shanghai Art College and then came to the USA where he received his MFA from Boston University.  Since that time he has exhibited extensively in both countries at such venues as the Today Museum in China, the National Museum of Art in Beijing, Ethan Cohen Gallery and Cynthia Reeves Gallery in NYC.  His works have also been included in exhibitions at the Grand  Palais in Paris and the ROam Academy of Fine Art in Rome.   Publications which have included his work art Art Asia Pacific, YiShu, The New York Times and Art in America.

Like Shen Chen, Cui Fei also began her career in China receiving a degree from the Zhejian Academy of Fine Arts and then relocating to the USA where she completed her MFA at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.   Her works have been included in exhibitions at the Queens Museum of Art,The Aldrich Museum of Art, the Museum of Chinese in America, the Kunstewerbe Museum in Germany,and the National Academy of Fine Arts in China.   Her public collections include Princeton University Art Museum  and  China National Academy of Fine Arts. She was also a 2009 recipient of a Pollack-Krasner Foundation grant.

The last of the NYC based artists is Zane York.  Zane, a native Nebraskan  received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin and then a MFA from the New York Academy of Art.   He like, Jordan Eagles is one of the younger artists, curator Tracy Causey-Jeffery included in the Coincidental Opposites exhibition.   To date his paintings have appeared in exhibitions in New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Missouri, St. Barthelemy Island and in Normandy France.

The final artist, Young Kim resides in  Winston Salem, NC  at present.  He has exhibited extensively throughout the United States in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, West Virgina,  Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York.   His work has appeared in Publication in the Grand Rapids Press, the Charleston City Paper, The Washington Post, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and others.   His public collectors include Austin Peay State University, West Virginia Sate Museum , the University of Kentucky and PNC Bank.

For more information on these eight artists and the Coincidental Opposites exhibition please call the gallery at 718-218-8939 or email

**Shen  Chen’s work is being loaned courtesy of Cynthia Reeves Gallery.