Itâ€™s always cool to find one of those 1980s, East Village throwback-type galleries. You know, the ones that favor a brutal sort of figurative art that kicks the cobwebs out of the old thinking process. If you are like me then head over to Aidan Savoy Gallery before it closes to catch this potent two-pronged exhibition curated by Jordin Isip titled A Piece Apart. The concept is to have dozens of artists submit one of their more familiar works, plus a separate pair of painted, sculpted, drawn or collaged eyes on five-inch square wood panels. Why eyes? The curatorâ€™s uncle runs an eye clinic in the Philippines, where he performs eye surgery on the poor and blind. Part of the monies made from the sale of the artful eyes will go to the clinic.
As mentioned earlier, the whole show has this sort of Juxtapoz, "Hairy Who," Street Art esthetic. Of particular interest is how some of the artists changed their style or approach to art-making when faced with the 5 X 5 inch eye panels, while others did not. Louis Corderoâ€™s eye pair had a certain Eastern, albeit drippy psychedelic esthetic, while his funked-out version of the Pieta was pure, western, ghetto street-inspired insanity. Dalekâ€™s eye offering was one of the few disappointments in the show, since they are too simple and weak. However, his regular genre piece was a noteworthy example of his usual iconography, which does save his butt.
Jason Porter has a sort of Ben Shann-thing going on in his painted collage eyes, while his other work was a strange, 1950s-looking collage of a creepy kid. Jordan Awanâ€™s knitted sky mask-wearing duo was fittingly contrasted by his Johnny Appleseed painting - a well executed narrative piece. Matt Leines turned his one 5 X 5 on end, creating a diamond format playing card motif eye, while his other work was a bone-adorned hairy skull with hypnotic eyes and kulture kitsch to spare. Lara Agultoâ€™s two eyes had a retro Peter Max-vibe going on, and her other offering was intricate and fine.
My favorite work in the show, hands or eyes down, was by Anna Sea: the etched glass on one of her eye pieces, and the sweet little oval painting which comes off looking like a retablo with its prosthetic hand and skull. It's amazingly designed and executed.
Donâ€™t miss this show. - D. Dominick Lombardi
Aidan Savoy Gallery
A Piece Apart
175 Stanton Street
New York, NY
Through December 9th
D. Dominick Lombardi is an artist with representation in Kasia Kay Art Projects and Lisa Boyle Gallery in Chicago, and Van Brunt Gallery in Beacon, NY; a writer with Sculpture, DART, & Magazine and NYARTS; and an independent curator.