BRIC Presents 'Alchemy,' An Exhibition Of Seven Artists' Work On Material Transformations

BRIC presents Alchemy, its major summer 2018 exhibition, featuring the work of seven artists reconceiving non-conventional materials in a reflection on the ancient concept of alchemy-the transformation of matter (June 28 - August 12). Employing diverse media, these artists create visually layered statements about the body, gender, race, and the environment. Their work, which includes large-scale installations and work commissioned by BRIC, also manifests the potential for the spiritual to be drawn out from the quotidian world around us.

Among the artists in the exhibition is Nicole Awai, who paints with such unconventional materials as tar and nail polish to communicate the nuances of a gendered, diasporic experience. Borinquen Gallo's installation, created largely with intricately woven yellow caution tape, expresses the possibility to derive beauty from society's detritus while also acting as a poetic call for environmental preservation. Kennedy Yanko's installation will include suspended sculptures made from found pieces of twisted metal and the rubbery skins of dried paint; these works offer a visceral experience of form and materiality while also creating a dialogue about gender and the shifting nature of identity. Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels, with her complex structures made from discarded housing materials-especially old lath wood-imagines systems both geological and genealogical. Her works evoke an ever-expanding network of crystalline structures. Anna Riley's paper thin sheets of limestone point to the architectural qualities of delicate materials while referencing the historical tradition of manuscripts containing alchemical recipes.

The exhibition also includes two video installations. For her ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) inspired videos projected onto Plexiglas cubes, Phoebe Grip produces enigmatic imagery made from such delicate materials as horsehair, fishing line, and string. Miatta Kawinzi's Pouvoir (Power) isa room-size installation with a large wall projection that will explore ideas related to diaspora, mobility, language, and change. Her performance accompanying the work will use language, movement, and sound to evoke the elements and to suggest the personal power to create change.

The opening reception for Alchemy will include a performance by Nana Poco (Instagram: @lalanana7), who will respond to the work of Kennedy Yanko (June 27). Accompanying the exhibition is a series of public programs, including an artist panel discussion (July 11); a performance by Alchemy artist Miatta Kawinzi (July 25); wellness sessions with Harriet's Apothecary (June 29 - August 1), an intergenerational healing village led by Black cis women, queer and trans healers, artists, health professionals, magicians, activists and ancestors; and a panel, The Attention to Making and Knowing (July 18), bringing together two New York-based projects, Project 404 and the Making and Knowing Project, to focus a discussion on creative practice as a way of experiencing/producing knowledge. Viewers will also have the opportunity to see two other BRIC exhibitions happening simultaneously: Erika Ranee: Inside/ Outside, featuring a new series of abstract paintings by the artist(June 28-August 12) in the Project Room, and an installation by Theresa Chromati: Energy Source (June 28-September 2) in the Hallway.

Public Programming Schedule
The following FREE programming will accompany the exhibition:

Alchemy Panel Discussion
Wednesday, July 11 | 7pm

A moderated discussion in which some of the exhibition artists will offer their perspectives on the alchemic properties of their work.

The Attention to Making and Knowing
Wednesday, July 18 | 7pm | Free

This panel will convene two New York-based projects-Project 404 and Making and Knowing-one, an attention practice, the other a cross-departmental course taught at Columbia University testing historic alchemical recipes. The panel will bring together these different forms of creative practice to describe new and innovative ways of experiencing/producing knowledge. The panel will include poet Leonard Nalencz co-founder of Project 404, Alchemy artist Anna Riley, and moderated by artist Caroline Woolard.

Performance by Alchemy Artist Miatta Kawinzi
Wednesday, July 25 | 7pm

This performance will use language, movement, and live/recorded sound to explore various forms of power.

Open House/Open Studios
Wednesday, August 1 | 6 - 9pm | BRIC House & 505 State

Celebrate the summer with BRIC's contemporary art program at BRIC House, and just down the street at BRIC's satellite residency space at 505 State Street. Attendees are invited to take a look at what the organization's summer BRICworkspace artists-in-residence have been up to, and to join BRIC for an evening of performance, music, meditation, and other wellness activities, as BRIC spotlights the work of multiple visual artists.

Healing with Harriet's Apothecary
Friday, June 29 - August 3 | 1-2pm

In conjunction with the Alchemy exhibition, Harriet's Apothecary will facilitate six, one-hour healing sessions including meditation and restorative yoga. Capacity is limited.

Also on View at BRIC

Erika Ranee: Inside/Outside
Project Room
Opening Reception: June 27, 7-9pm
On View: June 28 - August 12, 2018

Erika Ranee will exhibit a series of large and smaller-scale abstract paintings and works on paper featuring complex, layered compositions that evoke the interrelated territories of the interior self and the urban environment. Ranee's diverse and often unconventional media include brightly colored pigments, metallic paint, tape, leaves, shellac, and plastic - materials that act as reminders of everyday life while also providing rich surfaces for visual exploration. Ranee's compositions are also marked by controlled accidents, the result of pouring paint over her canvases, or of removing materials that leave ambiguous marks on her surfaces. As Ranee has stated, "As I build layers, I'm thinking about the interplay between materials, and histories. I can pull tape off and leave the remnants of it. The shapes become a history of that. The histories build up. Sometimes you don't even see it, and sometimes you open a window onto it. The painting always pushes back."

Erika Ranee is a painter with a studio based in Brooklyn. A recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Painting, she attended the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) seminar program at the Bronx Museum as well as the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She was a 2009/10 artist-in-residence at the Abrons Arts Center, and was awarded a studio grant from The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation in 2011/12, Ranee has exhibited her work extensively in New York, including at the Bronx Museum, The Last Brucennial/2014, The Parlour Bushwick, and BravinLee Programs. She also had a recent solo debut at LMAKgallery, NY. Her work has also been featured in group exhibitions at the Geoffrey Young Gallery, Great Barrington, MA, and in Brooklyn, at Storefront Ten Eyck, FiveMyles Gallery, Tiger Strikes Asteroid gallery (TSA/NY) and David & Schweitzer Contemporary.

Theresa Chromati: Power Source
Opening Reception: June 27, 7-9pm
On View: June 28 - September 2, 2018

Power Source is a multimedia installation by Guyanese American multimedia artist Theresa Chromati that explores black women as ultimate power sources whose energy is often consumed without their consent. Chromati's work is characterized by bright and bold colors and explores black women as opaque idealized figures. In this installation, she aims to create an immersive, surreal world brought to life by videos, sound, sculptural elements, and a mural.

Theresa Chromati's solo exhibitions include those at School 33 (forthcoming) and Platform Gallery, both in Baltimore, MD; and New Image Art, Los Angeles, CA. She has been included in group exhibitions at MoCADA, Brooklyn, NY; Kravets Wehby Gallery (forthcoming) and the Czech Center, both NY; Zero Zero Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; and Kudos Gallery, Sydney, Australia. She was an artist-in-residence at La Fragua, Cordoba, Spain. Her work has most recently been displayed at the Untitled Art Fair, Miami, and was featured in Art News, i-D, and in the spring issue 2018 of Juxtapoz Magazine. Chromati received her BFA from Pratt Institute.

Nicole Awai
Nicole Awai is a Brooklyn-based artist who was born in Trinidad. She works with an expansive definition to painting, blending traditional and non-conventional materials including melted vinyl, nail polish, nylon mesh, synthetic paper, glitter, and found objects into her compositions. Through these materials, she focuses on issues of gender, the negotiation of multiracial identities and the interconnectedness of material and place. In her work created for Alchemy, Awai uses tar to reference the Black body. Integrating femininity outside of the bounds of a bodily form, Awai comments on the capacity of common objects to maintain social and political agendas. Awai's work oscillates between a striking three-dimensionality and a more decorative quality.

Awai had solo exhibitions at the Lesley Heller Workspace and The Vilcek Foundation, both in NY; and at Five Myles in Brooklyn. Her work has been included in such major group exhibitions as Greater New York: New Art in New York Now, P.S. 1/MoMA, Long Island City, NY; Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art, the Brooklyn Museum; the Busan Biennale, Korea. She has also exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; and the Biennale of the Caribbean, Aruba, among others. Awai received the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant and an Art Matters Grant. Awai earned her Master's degree from the University of South Florida.

Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels
Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels was born in Knoxville, TN, and is based in Brooklyn. She works as both a creator and disruptor, building habitable structures and large sculptures, while also producing site-specific installations in unexpected spaces that appear to be the result of natural physical deterioration. For her sculptural installations, she uses discarded housing materials to creates complex structures featuring triangular patterns that recall the natural arrangement and mystical qualities of crystal structures. By mimicking the wooden materials of constructed space, Bothwell Fels references functionality but recalibrates it, turning found materials into something artistic. In the accompanying set of drawings, she aims to expose the miraculous and complex underlying structures that exist in the natural world.

Bothwell Fels has shown her work at Pioneer Works and Balash Artist Space, both in Brooklyn; the SPRING/BREAK Art Show and Catinca Tabacaru Gallery in NY; Sun Valley Center for the Arts, Ketchum, ID; and Pump Projects in Austin, TX. She has completed residencies at Black Mountain School, Black Mountain, NC; Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT; Mildred's Lane, Beach Lake, PA; AZ West, Joshua Tree, CA; and Anderson Ranch, Snowmass Village, CO.. Bothwell Fels holds a BA in Social Psychology from Stanford University and an MFA from Columbia University.

Borinquen Gallo
Borinquen Gallo is an artist and educator born in Rome, Italy, who lives and works in New York. Her large-scale, often site-specific wall sculptures are the result of a painstaking process. She weaves into a framework of debris netting such quotidien materials as caution tape, plastic shopping and garbage bags,to produce lush, thickly textured surfaces. At BRIC, Gallo's installation merges the interior and exterior space of the gallery by featuring planters suspended along the building's outdoor walkway. Inspired by the idea of radical transformation and focusing on common materials, including society's detritus, she creates objects of vibrant beauty - a form of recycling that also acts as a poetic call for environmental preservation. The careful weaving of her yellow and black materials, typically produced collectively, also plays with the idea of a beehive, aggrandizing craftsmanship and community harmony.

Gallo's group exhibitions include those at the Nancy Ross Project Space, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY; Longwood Art Gallery, Bronx, NY; the Queens Museum of Art, NY; Wave Hill, the Bronx; National Academy Museum, NY; the Third AIM Biennial, Bronx Museum of the Arts, NY; Warsaw International art Expo, Warsaw, Poland. She has taken part in residencies at The Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT; the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, NY; and at the Instituto di Arte Sacra Beato Angelico, Rome, Italy. Gallo earned a BFA from the Cooper Union for The Advancement of Science and Art and an MFA in Painting from Hunter College. She is Assistant Professor at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, and Sculpture Instructor at the National Academy School and Museum, NY.

Phoebe Grip
Phoebe Grip is a Brooklyn-based sculptural artist originally from Peterborough, NH. Through her video practice and her series of woven and wire sculptures of snare traps, Grip addresses themes of predation and gender, granting the female experience delicacy, primacy, and ephemerality. In Alchemy, she exhibits a series of subtle videos projected onto Plexiglas cubes. In each video, a fragile trap made of delicate materials, such as horsehair, fishing wire, and pearls, falls into the box; the emptied box then acts as the projection surface in the exhibition. Although the traps reference hunting and fishing, Grip's videos are not menacing; instead, by accentuating the sonic qualities of the action projected in the videos, Grip recalls the all-female pseudoscience trend of ASMR videos, intended to soothe and relax their viewers.

Phoebe Grip's work was included in the BRIC Biennial Volume II, as well as in the Re: Art Show housed in the former Pfizer Pharmaceutical building in Brooklyn. Grip has been awarded residences and fellowships at BRIC in Brooklyn; The Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY; the Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT; and The Lehrman Trust at Soaring Gardens, Laceyville, PA.. Grip received her BA from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO.

Miatta Kawinzi
Born in Nashville, TN, to a Liberian mother and Kenyan father and based in Brooklyn, Kawinzi works with sound, images, objects, and space to investigate the inner and outer landscapes of the body, the limitations of language, and culture as a site of reimagination and possibility. Kawinzi's video installation Pouvoir meditates on the notion of power as it relates to diaspora, ability, and language production. By granting visibility to the materiality of the unseen, Kawinzi's video shows a series of transformations: the different ways Blackness is constructed in the United States and in Paris (where she recently lived during an artist residency), the manipulation of voice and language as a means of spiritual abstraction, and the internal change that occurs in the self when acknowledging one's own power. The installation includes hanging lengths of deconstructed and then re-knotted yarn that are reminiscent of hair extensions and symbolic of various lines of thought.

Kawinzi has exhibited her work at Black Ball Projects and Kunstraum, both in Brooklyn; The Studio Museum, New York Immigration Coalition, and chashama, all in NY; Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, Newark, NJ; Hampshire College Art Gallery, Amherst, MA; and Sandtron Convention Centre and The Bag Factory, both in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has completed residencies at Beta-Local in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE; and Bag Factory Artists' Studios in Johannesburg, South Africa.She recently completed a residency in Paris under the auspices of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Anna Riley
Anna Riley's practice investigates the manufacturing processes of materials as a means of exposing the role that they play as active agents in daily life. For Alchemy, Riley presents a work in the form of a large manuscript, an emblem that carries alchemical theories of the past. Rather than reenact this form by inscribing her handmade paper with alchemical recipes, Riley exhibits the material of the pages as the manuscript's content. In place of a traditional spine, Riley includes a glass armature that is echoed in the standing glass pages on pedestals. These pages, consolidated with pages made of lime, point to the labor-intensive physical and chemical processes of papermaking as well as its architectural uses.

Riley has shown her work at the Agnes Varis Art Center, Urban Glass, Brooklyn; the American Museum of Glass, Millville, NJ; Art House Gallery, Jersey City, NJ; and the Noyes Museum of Stockton University, Atlantic City, NJ. Riley has participated in residencies at Urban Glass and Dieu Donné Papermill Workspace, both in Brooklyn; the Museum of Arts and Design and the Cyborg Foundation in NY; and the Corning Museum in Corning, NY, among others.

Kennedy Yanko
A painter-sculptor based in Brooklyn, Kennedy Yanko produces complex sculptures that fuse and juxtapose an array of materials, challenging our assumptions of the materials and accentuating their expressive qualities. In her site-specific installation for BRIC, Yanko allows her materials to express their underlying natural orders: paint becomes a sculptural element, and moss and dirt combine with water to produce a corporeal environment. In her major installation in Alchemy, Yanko suspends sculptures at varying intervals, creating a tactile environment in which the spectator's movement through space offers an unfolding of sensory experience. Playing with triangular motifs representing masculine and feminine tensions, the installation also questions the interdependence of the sexes while highlighting the interaction of natural resources. About her work, she says, "I've always understood life through movement and my senses; I have to create something physically in order to truly understand it intellectually."

For four years, Yanko alternated between a residency at The Living Theater in New York - one of the most influential experimental theater troupes in the U.S. - while dedicating herself to her studio practice in St. Louis. Her recent exhibitions include Hidden in Plain Sight, curated by artist Derrick Adams for the Jenkins Johnson Project Space, NY; The Aesthetics of Matter, curated by Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont at the 2018 Volta Show, NY; and an exhibition at the Caroline A. Feuerman Sculpture Foundation, Mana Contemporary, Jersey City, NJ. In the fall, she will have a solo show at Leyendecker Galeria. She has had residencies at Fountain Head, Miami, FL; and at the Atlantic Center of the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, FL. Yanko studied art at the San Francisco Art Institute.

The Alchemy exhibition is generously sponsored by Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Other supporters/sponsors are Alloy, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, City Point, Con Edison, Ford Foundation, Forest City New York, The Hearst Foundations, Goya Foods, Lambent Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Robert Lehman Foundation, TD Bank, TF Cornerstone, as well as numerous individuals.

Public support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

BRIC is the leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn, and one of the largest in New York City. We present and incubate work by artists and media-makers who reflect the diversity that surrounds us. BRIC programs reach hundreds of thousands of people each year.

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In addition to making cultural programming genuinely accessible, BRIC is dedicated to providing substantial support to artists and media makers in their efforts to develop work and reach new audiences.

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Established in 1911, Douglas Elliman Real Estate is the largest brokerage in the New York Metropolitan area and the third largest residential real estate company nationwide. With more than 7,000 agents, the company operates approximately 113 offices in New York City, Long Island, The Hamptons, Westchester, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, California, Colorado and Massachusetts. Moreover, Douglas Elliman has a strategic global alliance with London-based Knight Frank Residential for business in the worldwide luxury markets spanning 60 countries and six continents. The company also controls a portfolio of real estate services including Douglas Elliman Development Marketing, Douglas Elliman Property Management and Douglas Elliman Commercial. For more information on Douglas Elliman as well as expert commentary on emerging trends in the real estate industry, please visit

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