New York, NY
Jordana Zeldin is the Director of ArtBridge, the New York City based-nonprofit organization dedicated to creating unparalleled exposure opportunities for the emerging artist. In July of 2011, her role expanded when she became curator of The ArtBridge Drawing Room, the organization's jewel-box Chelsea gallery. She holds BA in Film and American Studies from the University of East Anglia in the UK.
We've invited her to curate a collection with an overarching theme or narrative of her choosing. You can see the collection on Artsicle here.
JORDANA: When lost in a museum, we have wall text to guide us, a statement from the curator,the portable audio guide to tell us in words what the things we are looking at mean. Artist statements too, are sometimes there to help us—an artist who created a work surely knows better than any of us, what his or her art is about. Maybe.
I was honored when Dan Teran asked me to be the Artsicle blog’s first guest curator and in thinking about how best to structure the post, decided to do so in the spirit of the website as I understand it, to put something together that does away with the scariness of art, helps to make it accessible to anyone who wants to know more about it, democratizes the right to respond to a painting without worrying about doing it “right,” connects art lovers to those who make it, and the growing community of emerging artists contributing work to this site with one another.
With that in mind, I’ve simplified the role of curator from expert to facilitator and reached out to the five Artsicle artists featured in my collection, John Kesling, Kirsten Nash, Alexander Moytl, Hilary Pharr and Mara Wasielewski, to weigh in and talk about their piece(s) in the context of their peers’. I hope you’ll consider joining the discussion in the comment section of the blog. Artspeak has its place, so does theory, but I do believe that our own gut response can be the most reliable compass as we try to find our way through a work of art.
Here we go!
KIRSTEN NASH: This is a grouping of reductive, hand drawn images of empty and
vacated places. Each painting depicts a space where the narrative seems to have
happened already. The actors have exited, and the viewer is witness to this vacancy.
Mara Wasielewski’s Reception at the Whitney #5 depicts a setting for a social event,
but I am alone here. Am I too early, to late? Unwelcome?
JOHN KESLING: The study and stillness of these pieces remind me of the sort of
lyrics from The Temptations classic song, “each day through my window I watch
her as she passes by…a cozy little home out in the country with two children, maybe
three.” A narrative is built out of minimal information or personal involvement.
Humans like storytelling; the work selected here does that quietly. I feel like I’m
in the back of a station wagon going to…I dunno…someplace like Findlay, Ohio. Who
lives here? Where do they buy their groceries? Where do they get their sour cream?
HILARY PHARR: I see interesting repetitive shapes that stand out in the paintings that echo
each other. The paintings all have large empty open areas and present a kind
of moodiness to me. I think they could create a dialogue amongst themselves about
a sense of emptiness, open space, continuity, vastness...They all seem like quite
dream-like spaces, inviting pauses where the viewer might drift into his or her
subconscious mind or memory.
The collection inspired ALEXANDER MOTYL to write a poem:
What is there to see?
and empty spaces
with vanishing points
that do not vanish
and have no point,
MARA WASEILWASKI: Due to the similar palette, the paintings all share a quiet,
melancholy mood. Light and composition are used to create a common sense of
vacancy and solitude. They each seem to be windows into a memory or dream,
either literal or figurative. The subjects of the work are mainly commonplace
yielding them understated yet powerful.
For these five artists the collection brings to mind mystery, emptiness, dreams,
questions of story and of memory. For me too. What about for you? Thank you to
John, Kristen, Alexander, Hilary and Mara for your thoughtful comments and to
Artsicle for creating a community that makes this kind of dialogue possible.