SPRING/BREAK Art Show 2019

Collective 131 was thrilled to exhibit at this year’s iteration of SPRING/BREAK Art Show, FACT OR FICTION, held at 866 United Nations Plaza in New York.

Images by Samuel Morgan photography

Images by Samuel Morgan photography

on her own

This exhibition utilizes the theme of FACT AND FICTION to examine the dualities of space and the body, specifically in regards to the woman’s experience. The four featured female artists each explore their own questions and feelings against their individual internal and external surroundings—both physically and mentally. They consider the realness and imaginary aspects of those spaces, asking themselves if they belong, or if they are "other." Through the use of figures, landscapes, and architectural elements, they place themselves within the context of their own minds and the exterior universe.

Susan M B Chen’s work often utilizes portals and environments in relation to each other, and more recently, figures that are both a part of and separate in these settings.  A first-generation American and with a childhood upbringing between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom throughout the Hong Kong handover, Chen’s feelings of dissonance and a search for belonging are evident in her paintings.  By depicting duality and the inside-outside juxtaposition, Chen questions her own identity in existing between worlds, as well as a millennial who witnesses her generation as permanently living between their online selves versus their actual selves behind the digital screen.

Lauren Gidwitz delves into complex themes such as home, family, safety, consumption, and sexual and emotional relationships, often stemming from her own memories and experiences. Family Hour takes a common activity—gathering around the TV with your family—and subverts it with the ghostly figures and the rough texture of the material. Subneath depicts the act of sewing or weaving, another theme Gidwitz often explores.

Aparna Sarkar examines fact and fiction by her use of the body, often hers. She brings in Hindu mythology and the sense of the divine or other to examine the “othered” or “hybrid identity.” Her figures are lit from within by her use of color and mystical elements. She often depicts the body in their most intimate moments; in Grooming, for example, and Night In, where the figures perform their personal rituals. This exhibition also features her ceramic work with a tile installation that investigates similar themes.

Gretchen Scherer’s exquisite, complicated interiors bring together past and present, the real world and the imaginary. She uses collages of different interiors she finds and puts them together in ways that seem to make sense, but are also disconnected, reminiscent of an Escher drawing. Scherer’s paintings make us question the world around us. Is this place real or in our minds? How do we fit into this space?

On her own is an examination of these themes through artwork, but also in the physical space of the gallery as well, which forces the viewer to see the challenges of women artists in a male-dominated space.

About Collective 131

Collective 131 is a new online platform that exclusively features emerging female artists. Artists include: Jessica Bottalico, Susan M. B. Chen, Cathleen Clarke, Kara Cox, Samantha T. Franklin, Sarah Fuhrman, Lauren Gidwitz, Ali Ha, Aparna Sarkar, Gretchen Scherer, Ellen Siebers, and Sara Tabatabai. The art world is dominated by men, from the artists who get shows to the gallery owners. With a background in galleries, we saw an opening to create something that would potentially be meaningful to a lot of people—especially female artists. We aim to put more women at the front of this industry, and to help emerging artists find a platform to reach a wider audience.Our hope is that all collectors, male and female, see the value in diversifying their collections. We also want to make art more accessible—eliminating any intimidation that galleries sometimes exude, and letting people collect art on their own terms.

Cassandra Fiorenza