Human Ecology – the study of the relationships between humans and their natural, social, and built environments.
Ronald Feldman Fine Arts is proud to present Human Ecology 101, a group show exploring the significance of the artistic communities that are facilitated and nurtured by art galleries. The business model of the traditional gallery space is facing serious challenges from rising costs and increased competition. As a larger percentage of sales come from art fairs and via the Internet, the necessity and sustainability of a brick and mortar space is coming into question for small and mid-level galleries, particularly in New York. Facing these facts of the contemporary market place, how does one begin to quantify the social importance that the physical gallery space plays? This is an integral part of the equation if we are to consciously build the kind of future art world we want and not simply have it shaped for us by restrictive market forces.
Running an art gallery is just as much a social experiment as it is a business. Gallerists create homes for artists to gather and exchange ideas. They find dedicated and knowledgeable art dealers, and passionate staff, who are often young artists, critics, and curators themselves. Relationships form, and from these a larger community grows. In these communities, countless young artists find mentorship, guidance, and inspiration.
Human Ecology 101 looks at the relationships that grow out of this personal and cultural exchange, and the influence of these interactions on the work and career of the artists involved. Each of the six artists who the curator came to know through his association with Ronald Feldman Fine Arts is paired with another artist with whom they have a friendship and who has influenced their work in some way. The artists in the mentor group are part of the same community, either represented by Pierogi, Salon 94, and Ronald Feldman Fine Arts.
The artists in the exhibition work within a broad range of concepts and materials. Often there are common threads, including similar interests, modalities of thought, and approaches to practice. However, when viewed together in this setting, we see a certain continuity that goes beyond the simply aesthetic. The artists have different dialects, and each discovers his/her own language.
Human Ecology 101 is dedicated to Martina Batan, who has been associated with the Feldman Gallery since the ‘70s. She is ill and participates in the art program at Northeast Center for Special Care near Kingston, NY that specializes in traumatic brain injury. It is there where she met Peter Collins, a young man who suffered a terrible accident and is in recovery as well. Peter had never made art before, but he attributes Martina’s encouragement to changing his life.
A big thank you to Mae Skidmore and the entire staff at Northeast Center for Special Care. This show is curated by Scott Vincent Campbell.