571 Projects is pleased to present "Contemplation: a world without beauty is unbearable," a group show including works by gallery artists Matilde Alessandra, Brian Fekete, Sally Gil, Melora Griffis, Jimmie James and Dorothy Simpson Krause. Beauty is a spiritual need - the aesthetic experience nourishes us and grounds us in our shared humanity. As spiritual beings, we thrive when we make time for contemplation, whether a natural landscape, a piece of music, or a work of art. Beauty is a highly subjective notion: that which resonates is personal, linked with our individual experiences, openness and curiosity, and most fundamentally, with the time we give to contemplation.
We invite you to take the time to contemplate a selection of works on paper, canvas and aluminum, each of which rewards time spent with it, as it unfolds layers and possible meanings. Matilde Alessandra’s light box, Resistance emits a steady, warm pink glow, two fluorescent tubes wrapped in photo filters creating a dynamic crescendo. Her ink on paper drawings pick up this modulation of intensity and light through dense, cross hatched lines that build between negative space and inky black. Line plays an important role in Jimmie James’ works on paper, though here it is spontaneous, and serves elliptical narratives. His works have a quiet, reflective quality, expressed in their economic line and soft palette. A kind of story telling is at the heart of Sally Gil’s intricate collage on paper works, which create nonlinear narratives and poetic associations through appropriated imagery from a variety of paper ephemera, articulated with her repetitive mark making. Human histories animate Brian Fekete’s wonderfully strange paintings on paper, bending our perception of space and time. His characteristic meticulous execution of this layered and intentionally distorted imagery creates compelling and uncanny works that veer between figuration and abstraction, referencing science, consumerism, nature and the animal and spiritual worlds. Drawing on her subconscious, Melora Griffis’ gestural, expressionist paintings share a seductive palette and masterful use of glitter. Drawing on intimate and universal concepts of curiosity, memory and desire, Griffis’ gestural, expressionist works lean toward abstraction encouraging the viewer to engage with her paintings prismatically. Her palette is seductive and her masterful painterliness dares to incorporate glitter, intentionally uneven hand stitching, and mixed fabric with gestural abstraction. Dorothy Simpson Krause’ sumptuously layered, sophisticated works reveal mysterious landscapes, often bathed in a golden light. Where the Hudson River painters of the 1800s saw the sublime in the American wilderness, under threat even then, Krause draws out a powerful, all-encompassing spirituality as she at once captures a fragile beauty and underlines its inevitable vulnerability.
Born in Venice, Italy, Matilde Alessandra studied at the Academy of Fine Arts (Venice, Italy). While she began her career in London working as interior and display designer, her artistic career took off in New York in the late 1990s. She started working with light, pairing fluorescent tubes with painted canvasses and plexiglas boxes. Since then she has built a reputation both as artist and designer, developing a distinctive and communicative style recognizable in all of her work. Her artistic output spans luminous sculptures, site specific installations and ink drawings. Her work has been exhibited across Europe and the United States. Notable recent exhibitions include the 55th Venice Biennale, and Leila Heller Gallery in New York City. She lives and works in New York City.
Now settled and working in Kingston, NY, Brian Fekete reached the Hudson Valley by way of Brooklyn and Detroit, where he was born in 1955. There, he received his BFA and MFA degrees, before moving to Brooklyn in 1997. Fekete has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Wayne State University, and grants from the Michigan Council for the Arts. His work can be seen in the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts, as well as numerous public and private collections, both in the US and abroad.
Brooklyn-based visual artist Sally Gil was born and raised in Bennington, VT. She received her Bachelor of Arts at UC San Diego and her Masters of Fine Arts at Hunter College, CUNY. She has had solo exhibitions at Helen Day Art Center, Stowe, VT; The Bennington Museum, Bennington, VT; Geary Contemporary, NYC; 571 Projects, NYC; University of North Carolina, Charlotte; and Dean Bergen Gallery, Brooklyn. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at The Fleming Museum, Burlington, VT; The Brooklyn Museum; The Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn; and White Columns, NYC, among other venues. The artist was a Fellow at Apexart (2013) to São Paolo, Brazil and a Visiting Artist at The University of North Carolina, Charlotte (2010) and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (2001). Her work was included in the US State Department’s Arts in Embassies program, in Brazzaville, Congo (2014-2016). She is a 2018 recipient of a New York City MTA public art commission for the Avenue U station on the N line, Brooklyn.
A native New Yorker, Melora Griffis received her BFA from The Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts (Montpelier, VT). She has had solo exhibitions at the Pamela Williams Gallery (Amagansett, NY), Lizan Tops Gallery and AE Gallery (both East Hampton, NY), Whitney Art Works (Greenport, NY), The Re Institute (Millerton, NY) and 571 Projects (New York, NY). Her work has been included in group shows at Edward Thorp Gallery (New York, NY), White Columns (New York, NY), Bowman/Bloom Gallery (New York, NY), Michael Steinberg (New York, NY), Silas Marder (Bridgehampton, NY), Ille Arts, (Amagansett, NY), Sara Nightingale Gallery, (Sag Harbor, NY) and Boltax Gallery (Shelter Island, NY) among others. Griffis has received fellowships from Le Moulin à Nef (Auvillar, France), Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus (Schwandorf, Germany), the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, (Ithaca, NY), Schloss Pluschow (Mecklenberg-Vorpommern, Germany), The Edward F. Albee Foundation (Montauk, NY) and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (Amherst, VA). Melora Griffis lives and works in New York City.
Jimmie James is a poet, painter, actor and singer/songwriter. Brooklyn born, this renaissanced artist has long been a fixture of New York City’s art, theater and music scene, showing at a number of galleries including 571 Projects, Andrea Schwartz Gallery, Boltax Gallery, and Thomas Werner Gallery, to name a few. He has performed in works by theatrical luminaries including Richard Maxwell, Christina Masciotti, Danny Hoch, and Susan Lori Parks, and has composed for theater and film, where projects include Seth Zvi Rosenfeld’s “Everything’s Turning into Beautiful,” Amos Poe’s “Empire II.” Jimmie James’ works are present in a number of private collections. Recently returned from gallery exhibitions and performances in Japan, Thailand and Spain, he currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
In addition to being Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts College of Art, Dorothy Simpson Krause is also a member of Digital Atelier, an artists’ collaborative. Her work has won many awards including the Smithsonian/ComputerWorld Technology in the Arts Award (1997), and the Kodak Innovator Award (2000). Her work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including The Landing Gallery (Rockland, ME); Evos Art Institute (Lowell, MA); the Attleboro Museum of Art (Attleboro, MA); The Judi Rotenberg Gallery (Boston, MA); 571 Projects (New York City). Her work is in many museum collections including The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Dalarna Museum (Dalarna, Sweden); The Smithsonian Museum of American Art (Washington, DC); Art Complex Museum (Duxbury, MA); State Museum (Novosibirsk, Russia); and The DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum (Framingham, MA). Krause was selected as the inaugural Helen M. Salzburg Artist-in-Residence at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University (2012).