TAXONOMY Opens at Arsenal Gallery
NYC Parks has announced Taxonomy, an exhibition of George Boorujy's dynamic large-scale paintings of North American animals, as well as his preliminary clay models and drawings. Inhabitants of New York City and other urban centers often think of themselves as removed from nature, but Boorujy's paintings force us to rethink our relationship with animals and our own place within the environment.
Humans have always had an undeniable interest in and connection with animals-through rituals, labor, symbols, companionship and food-but we rarely see ourselves as their equivalents. "The strangest question I get from people is, 'Why are you so interested in nature?', as though we are separate from nature. We are Nature-with a capital N. I'm a large social primate that lives in an enormous colony called New York, which is situated on a very productive estuary," notes Boorujy. His animal portraits are infused with disarmingly humanistic characteristics. The animals' fixed stare begs us to participate in the moment, rather than observe them as we would a diorama. A black doe, ram, blue jay and a pronghorn antelope are among the animals that demand eye contact from the viewer and remind us that we are not so different from them.
Boorujy's hyperrealistic drawings recall the scientific detail of James John Audubon; however he takes liberties with the composition of his subjects, which adds a surrealistic element to his work. He begins his process by creating clay models to achieve slightly fantastic compositions unseen in nature, but that at the same time seem plausible. His extremely detailed portraits are rendered in ink on white paper backgrounds and can measure up to eleven feet long. The scale, meticulous craftsmanship and limited context encourage viewers to pause and see the animals as they never have before.
Drawings from Boorujy's New York Pelagic project will also be on view in the Arsenal Gallery. Since 2011, he has created original drawings of pelagic (open ocean) birds and placed them in glass bottles along with a questionnaire, and launched them into New York waterways. The project is inspired by the impact that oceanic plastic garbage patches have on sea life, as well as an interest in the commercial value people place on art, commodities, and the environment. For more information: http://nypelagic.com/
George Boorujy, a native of New Jersey, attended University of Miami with the intension of studying marine biology. However, his artistic interests led him to a BFA in painting in 1996. He received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2002. In addition to exhibiting nationally and internationally, he worked with NYC Parks' Natural Resources Group to create informational signage, maps, and advertisements for their Forever Wild program, launched 2001. Boorujy currently resides in Brooklyn, New York and teaches as an adjunct professor part time at the School of Visual Arts. He is represented by P.P.O.W Gallery. Passenger, George Boorujy's third solo show will open at P.P.O.W. on November 6, 2014.
The Arsenal Gallery is dedicated to examining themes of nature, urban space, wildlife, New York City parks and park history. It is located on the third floor of the Parks Department Headquarters, in Central Park, on Fifth Avenue at 64th Street. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday,
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Admission is free. For more information on the Arsenal Gallery, please call 212-360-8163.