Curated by Charlotte Mouquin String Theories examines the vibrational strings that connect humanness, cultural identities, relationships with nature, industrialization, and the subconscious. Examining connections through diverse media, String Theories include alternative photography techniques, painting, mixed media, printmaking, sculpture and video.
Ron Saunders, from San Francisco, uses sepia toned silver print photograms to combine fragmented human portraits and nature. The sepia tones use the silhouettes of trees within the head, or the shadows of feet on veiny leaves. The reflected fragmented self and the spirit of nature are combined with reference to history, race and gender. Earth tones and sacred geometry are also evident in the series. San Francisco-based artist Jennifer Maria Harris creates geometric webs in her piece Cultivate, reflecting on human perspectives or lost perspectives and lack of communication. Kay Reese examines identity and relationships within cross cultural heritage in her figurative found object sculpture Conditioned. The piece sits low to the ground with a mirrored base with asks the viewer to relate their own perceptions of self. Her work responds to society’s institutionalized class, gender, political, social and racial power systems.
New York-based Noelle King presents a discussion of our human connection with nature and the spirit of mother with Moss Phone. The classic black rotary phone has ancient species of moss growing in place of a rotary. The piece questions how we call in our past relationships with nature within our contemporary society. Katie DeGroot, living in upstate NY, personifies trees in her paintings and honors their unique abilities to adapt and survive. Sometimes they are adorned like showgirls putting on the most fantastic costumes decorated in moss, mushroom or vines. The relationship between humans and the personification of trees is ancient, but here it has a modern take with saturated color schemes.
New York-based Tessa Grundon is moved by topography, history of a place, ever-changing environments, and the relationship between land and people. Her work is created from local maps, beeswax from nearby hives, pigments drawn from the mud, various colored earths, vegetation, rust and charcoal. The delicate abstractions are markers of place, time, and experience. Estuaries and local waterways inspire the installation created by printmaker Eileen Ferera. She focuses on the plant Trapa Natans, an invasive species of water plant introduced in the US in the 1870’s.
Charlie Jo Crowell’s instillation, Room With a View, expresses the yearning for natural elements within our modern industrial surroundings. He investigates the tension between being and non-being within public and private emotional ecosystems. Within our humanness there is a craving for nature and connection but the blocked view seems like a memory in time, or a fleeting connectivity. The small paintings of New York-based, Aya Ogasawara resembles allegories of the subconscious, beauty, and womanhood. These small canvases include The Engagement, an extended hand with a ladybug replacing a diamond, and Her Silence, an open mouth with cobwebs surrounded by foliage.
Adie Russell, residing in Kingston NY, works with great visions of landscape, particularly a great mountain that is blocked by bright colorful geometric rectangles. The contemporary industrial shapes overlay the view of the divine nature just beyond. She states” I think part of the appeal of nature, our construction of nature, is the obliteration of self. We long to hold within our limited vision a souvenir of an oblivious world.” MJ Tyson forms rectangular shapes resembling industrial totems made of discarded or lost personal memorabilia. The past crushed columns are remnant of an industrial structure, but they are created considering the cycles of creation and destruction and the forgotten materials from generations past. Angelica Bergamini, residing in Brooklyn, reflects on the human relationship with the subconscious in her video piece Untitled (Know Thyself Series). She seeks to find a balance between the inner and outer world in relation to our ephemeral presence on this planet. With poetically blinking eyes, it reflects our own thoughts. It vibrates with the greater cosmos around us.
String Theories, the exhibition, invites the viewer to connect with self, nature, and the industrialized city that surrounds us. We are all a part of the larger vibrations interacting with each other and propagating through space.
Charlotte Mouquin is a curator, artist, and the Gallery Director for Rush Arts Galleries part of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. Her degrees include a MA in Contemporary Art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art, a BFA from Parsons School of Design, an MAT from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston/Tufts University. She has curated at Rush Arts Gallery, Corridor Gallery, CultureFix Gallery, Clover’s Fine Art Gallery, and has presented art with art fairs in NY and Miami including: Volta, Scope, Pulse, Prizm, Fountain and Select. She has been a guest judge, curator and educator with Curate NYC, the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series, Art Slant NYC, Brooklyn Art incubator, and is the volunteer Director for the Love Yourself Project. Originally from Rockland County, NY Charlotte has been living and working in Brooklyn for the past 8 years. Her goal is enhancing community through art experiences that highlight our humanity as global citizens.