Lesley Heller Workspace Opens 'Night Walk' and 'Cambe and Prior,' 9/15


Night Walk

Lesley Heller Workspace will present a solo exhibition by Brooklyn artist, Judith Page in Gallery 1. Night Walk features wall mounted, floor based and free hanging sculptures, and digitally debased and painted photographs. Page is known for her inventive use of materials and stimulating social commentary.

The exhibition will run from September 15-October 24, 2010.  There will be an opening reception Wednesday, September 15, 6-8pm.

Using cast off objects, old books, photographs, and real and constructed memories, she selectively reveals aspects of her personal history as she exposes the underlying passion- filled dreams, persistent anxieties, and dark desires of humanity. An integral component of her art is the acrylic medium Tar Gel that has both sculptural and painting applications. Mixed with paint, it renders a full-bodied flexible high gloss surface perfect for creating "skins" that resemble lava or melting plastic. Page writes that, "Tar Gel creates a sense of flux, a gloriously seductive movement that spills onto paper, across canvas, envelops objects, and oozes onto the floor."

The focus of this exhibition and the title were inspired by a line from F. Scott Fitzgerald's book, The Crack Up, "... in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day." Page recreates these daily moments of crisis in her ongoing three- dimensional diary, 365 Dumb Days. The title for each sculpture begins with a date and follows with a reference to the form and content of the sculpture. For example, June 26 (Boom Box and Beaver), describes the components of the sculpture while also alluding to the beastliness and sweetness of adolescent sexuality. Other sculptures-with components that include an obsolete television, a Brazilian bola, a rusty knife, stuffed toys, a pony skin, chopped up yearbook photos and a crystal penis-tackle subjects that include loss of innocence, viral contagion, the transcendence of death through regeneration, the abuse of power and the plight of the power-less, the struggle between physical necessity and spiritual values, and the fluidity of history, as well as references to contemporary events such as the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Page will also show a New Group of painted and digitally debased photos collectively titled, Dreams of Power. Based on an earlier series, Strangers in a Foreign Land, that placed forgotten 19th century political figures in a dark and formless night, Page's current series tackles contemporary political figures who shrink and fade before the eyes of the public as they do in Page's digitally altered black and white photographs. The ambition and presence of these politicians will be blotted out by time and memory-similar to the ambiguous puddles of pink Tar Gel that blot out sections of the photograph. Dreamers, however, as Fitzgerald suggests in the Crack Up, retreat into their dreams hoping that "things will adjust themselves by some great material or spiritual bonanza." Page's politicians are caught between the aforementioned hope of resurrection and the eventual disintegration of personality, their liquid ambitions passed on to succeeding generations.

Judith Page was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and studied art at the University of Kentucky
and Transylvania University. Early influences were her father, an amateur historian,
photographer, and raconteur, who instilled in her a love and respect for history and the
creative process; her optometrist, the photographer Ralph Eugene Meatyard, who influenced
her through his commitment to a Gothic vision; and writers such as Flannery O'Connor, Ed
McClanahan, and Carson McCullers who provided her with many potent visual images. Other
influences include the Roman historian Tacitus; the politician Cassius Clay; the musician
John Jacob Niles; and Southern vernacular artists such as Bill Traylor and Howard Finster.
Page says that her "art emerges from a Gothic sensibility, a place where horror and beauty
exist in close proximity, where innocence encounters depravity, where the spirit is
consumed and revived from moment to moment."

Page lived and worked in Florida until relocating to New York City in 1992, and currently lives
in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. She received Individual Artist's Fellowships from the
Gottlieb Foundation in 2002; the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2005-06 and 1998-99; and
from the State of Florida in 1992-93. Exhibitions include The Photograph as Canvas, The
Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; Disarming Beauty: The Venus de Milo in
20th Century Art, Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL and solo exhibitions at Luise Ross Gallery,
New York, NY; Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC; Massry Center for the Arts, The
College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY; and at Lesley Heller Gallery, New York, NY. Page's numer-
ous exhibitions and installation projects were written about in Art Papers, The Brooklyn Rail,
The New York Times, Art on Paper, and Art in America. In September 2008, a sixteen-page
artist project was published in the literary/art journal, Post Road.

Cambre and Prior

Lesley Heller Workspace will also present, in Gallery 2, Hypothesis of Psychodelia, an exhibition of works by two Argentinian artists, Juan José Cambre and Alfredo Prior.  The exhibition will run from September 15-October 24, 2010.  There will be an opening reception Wednesday, September 15 from 6-8pm.

Curated by Lauren Bate and Marina Pellegrini, the exhibition explores Cambre and Prior's work
in the context of Generación de los 80, the art movement they helped to spearhead in Argentina during the 1980s.

This was a time when painting re-emerged in Buenos Aries, fueled by such diverse developments as an expanding international art market, shifting political currents in South America, and art trends such as the Italian trans-avant-garde and German neo-expressionism -- trends that incorporated figurative painting, as well as eclecticism and abstraction, in reaction to the dominance of minimalism and conceptualism that had held sway during the sixties and seventies.

Cambre and Prior, like other artists in the movement, rediscovered figuration and expressionism, bringing a joy and sense of meaning to the act of painting as well as an appreciation of art history to their work.

Juan José Cambre was born in Argentina in 1948 and studied architecture as well as painting with Luis Felipe Noe at the University of Buenos Aries. He then worked in stage design and showed his paintings in various galleries before travelling to New York City in 1981 to spend a year studying art. Upon his return to Argentina in 1982, he entered an active period, exhibiting with such artists as Ana Eckell, Alfredo Prior, Guillermo Kuitka and others. Fueled by the national mood of optimism and change that accompanied the end of the military government and the advent of democracy in Argentina, Cambre and his peers collaborated and exchanged ideas, creating a vital art scene.

Cambre works in a neo-expressionist vein, embracing a return to painting and an approach to figurative painting that leaves room for experimentation, eclecticism, and abstraction. Renowned
as a colorist, Cambre has also experimented with monochromes. He often works in large formats, painting images that seem torn between abstraction and figuration. He allows his cultural sensibilities come through in his works, with titles that reference music and literature. Cambre tends to explore repeated motifs -- vessels, landscapes, leaves -- in series, transforming the act of painting into a meditative, contemplative exercise.

Cambre lives and works in Buenos Aries. His work has been exhibited throughout Latin America and the world, including exhibitions in Uruguay, Costa Rica, New York, Caracas, and Spain.

Born in Buenos Aries in 1952, Alfredo Prior taught himself painting, and first exhibited his work at that city's Lirolay gallery in 1971. He then took nearly a decade off from exhibiting his work, devoting his time to painting as well as writing fiction and studying.

A literate and cultivated artist, Prior fills his work with literary and art historical references, allusions to myths and traditions both eastern and western, and the iconography of cartoons, legends and fairy tales. He creates fantastic universes that combine ideas and images to humorous and sarcastic effect, such as in his Cuentos Chinos series, a body of work that spoofs Western ignorance of Eastern culture by deliberately confusing Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindu, and Tibetan motifs.

Prior's palette of blues and turquoises give his works a dreamlike, submarine quality that sometimes edges toward nightmare. He luxuriates in combining colors, textures and finishes, ranging irrepressibly from bold, rough brushstrokes and splatters to delicate detail and immaculate enameled finishes. Humor and sarcasm are strong currents in his work, as is a playfulness that does not shrink from gentle mockery, often satirizing or deceiving the viewer.

Prior's work has been exhibited in museums and galleries all over the world, including Beau Lézard in Paris, the Modern Museum in Stockholm, the Museo de Arte Moderne in Buenos Aries, and the Terne Gallery in New York. He lives and works in Buenos Aries.

Photo Credit: Artwork by Cambre