Brenda Zlamany: 100/100 Featured This Fall At Laurie M. Tisch Gallery At Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan
The Laurie M. Tisch Gallery is pleased to present Brenda Zlamany: 100/100, which will be on display at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan from Sept. 4 through Dec. 16, with an opening reception on Sept. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit, which features 100 portraits of older and disabled residents of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, honors overlooked members of society. Zlamany involved her subjects in an artistic process that upholds their value and displays the beauty and wisdom that come with age. The works were completed during a 2017 residency and first shown at the Derfner Judaica Museum + The Art Collection at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale.
As she painted, Zlamany asked herself questions about the end of life that are conveyed in the energy of the portraits. "In the face of loss-loss of loved ones, mobility, taste, hearing, sight-can there still be joy? What is the role of memory? How do past experiences fuel happiness in the present?"
The multimedia exhibition features Zlamany's watercolor portraits, a short film, and 100 photographs of the subjects posing with their portraits. 100/100 is the most recent chapter in Zlamany's ongoing project, "The Itinerant Portraitist," in which she explores the constructive effects of portraiture in communities around the globe. Previous chapters focused on Aboriginal people in Taiwan, girls in an orphanage in the United Arab Emirates, artists in Brooklyn, and taxi drivers in Cuba.
"Brenda's beautiful portraits honor each of her sitters and presents a story that isn't often seen in the gallery world or society in general," said Megan Whitman, director of the JCC's Lambert Center for arts + ideas. "100/100 offers the wider community an opportunity to join Brenda in revering and uplifting some of our eldest members of society."
In this project, Zlamany embraces the collaborative nature of the portrait process, borrowing strategies from traditional art making (portraiture, watercolor), conceptual art (production according to predetermined schedules and quotas), and performance art (emphasizing process and the engagement between artist and subject). She painted six or more sitters each day from direct observation using a camera lucida, a device for drawing that dates back to the Renaissance and promotes a two-way exchange between artist and subject.
"The project is as much about the experience as it is about the watercolor," Zlamany points out. "I attempt to see someone. Who are they? They reveal themselves, but they also see me seeing them. Thus, I reveal myself to the subject. This takes place over an hour of extreme focus. The subject guides me. Sometimes we sit in silence; other times great secrets are divulged. I may coax them, but they decide. Sometimes I'm the one telling the secrets. The image, built up slowly, stroke by stroke, is evidence of a two-way exchange. Often I'll make big changes, perhaps add a slight smile in the end, after a good laugh is shared."
Zlamany is a painter who lives in Brooklyn. Since 1982 her work has appeared in many solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. She has received a Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts Artists' Fellowship in painting, and a Jerome Foundation Fellowship. Yale University recently commissioned two large-scale group portraits by her for permanent public display on campus.
Brenda Zlamany: 100/100 is part of Reimagine End of Life, a week of asking big questions about life and death. It will be held Oct. 27 through Nov. 3 in New York. Learn more at letsreimagine.org.
Together with its community, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan creates opportunities for people to connect, grow, and learn within an ever-changing Jewish landscape. Located on 76th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, the JCC is a vibrant non-profit community center on the Upper West Side. The cornerstone of progressive programming in Manhattan, the JCC serves over 55,000 people annually through 1,200 programs each season that educate, inspire, and transform participants' minds, bodies, and spirits. Since its inception, the JCC has been committed to serving the community by offering programs, classes, and events that reach beyond neighborhood boundaries, reaching people at all stages of their lives. Learn more at jccmanhattan.org.
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