A Review of Surface Traces at Yashar Gallery

Art Shape Mammoth
Jan 10, 2018 3:33PM

A review by Liza Renia Papi

Surface Traces is a group exhibition curated by Sandra Stephens, Professor of Pratt Institute and IDSVA doctoral candidate on Aesthetics and Philosophy. The exhibition is shown at the French Colonial Building at Yashar Gallery, Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn NY.  

The ground exhibition is formed by four artists, Sharon Norwood, Oneika Russell and Jeanne Proust, who collaborated with Sandra Stephen.

The whole show is very individually focused, as Norwood convened her porcelain with contradictory energy lines - the lines are extremely light, delicate and organic.

Russell, shows a strong deep feeling with her female drawings that are reminiscent of the ‘muzzle’ masks which the Portuguese used on female slaves circa 1600 to 1700 that makes us ask questions about how females have been treated in society. David Hume's predecessors famously took opposing positions on whether human nature was essentially selfish or benevolent, some arguing that man was so dominated by self-interested motives that for moral requirements to govern us at all they must serve our interests in some way. Others arguing that uncorrupted human beings naturally care about the weal and woe of others and here morality gets its hold. Russell created another drawing of the female body with a snake, reflecting in the background a shadow of a man’s body. Those drawings also express deep feelings, they are strong and sensual as Louise Bourgeois’ work on Unfolding Portrait where the imaginary holds and develops the real.  

Closing the exhibition, I should mention Breaking Skins, a three panel video installation created by Stephens and Proust. Stephens prism of reality is reflexed in this video where she states that we are influenced by what is around us. And visually she sees this shifting as Mobius with no distinct inside or outside. A parallel is seen here with Hegel's observation on life and art when he says that the contemplative mind strives to see the Absolute. Stephens' video shows layers of infinite cells, movement, and warm colors giving life and hope to the material cosmic. As Hegel also posted that in order to see Beauty, this detached mind must transcend nature. Stephens transcends nature giving the freedom to the inside and outside world. Hegel completed his idea of freedom and beauty when he stated that by freeing ourself, the mind perceives the spiritual content of the work of art, which must also be free in order to be Beautiful. Nature must be reversed with its antithesis, the idea, which brings about the inner unity necessary for spiritual content: nature, idea, spirit = art.

Art Shape Mammoth