By Gal Cohen and Luciana Pinchiero
Curated by Aya Goshen
Presented at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, New York, 2022
Reviving Venus presents a survey of works made by two queer female artists based in New York City, Gal Cohen, and Luciana Pinchiero. It incorporates mixed-media paintings, an installation assembled from enlarged digital prints combined with ready-made objects, and a shelf installation constructed of miniature found objects and collages. In this show, Cohen and Pinchiero reconnect with historic female sculptural representations, charging them with new meanings while breaking free from the male gaze - Reclaiming their HerStory.
Cohen and Pinchiero share an interest in historical artifacts representing the female body. ey both use found archival images of female sculptures as a reference for their works. Cohen looks at archeological catalogs of Upper Palaeolithic female figurines collectively named "Venus figurines." She is fascinated by these prehistoric sculptures, which are considered the most ancient form of representation of the female body in humankind. e artifacts carry various meanings, such as fertility amulets, religious/shamanistic objects, or symbols of matriarchal societies. Cohen freely depicts them onto the canvas and infuses them with her own narratives and emotions to create layered mixed media paintings. e outcome is complex visuals that invite the viewers to re-engage with this past recollection of prehistoric artifacts in a personal way. PinchierocutsoutimagesofsculpturestakenfromaHellenistic Greek history book. She focuses on figures from an essay called "Bravery of Women" written by Plutarch. It describes a group of maenads, women devotees of the god Dionysus, from the town of Phocis. Lost in the forest during a night of ritual dancing and intoxication, the maenads fell asleep. Awakened in a hostile neighboring town of Amphissa, they found themselves surrounded by Amphissa’s women forming a human wall, standing together to protect them. Pinchiero brings this forgotten narrative of heroic female solidarity back to consciousness, reviving it by printing the cut-out of the maenads' figures at a human scale and then adding ready-made symbolic objects to form a loor installation.
In this exhibit, Cohen and Pinchiero use different modes of media and artistic strategies to manipulate existing imagery. Altered and reconstructed, these visuals of iconic objects are embedded in the presented works. Reviving Venus conjures past female narratives that have been marginalized by centuries of dominant western patriarchalism, reclaiming them from the forgotten history books to be put in the center stage. Subverted through the alternative queer female gaze, they are revived with another layer of interpretation.
Growing a Garden for an Unknown Lover
Growing a Garden for an Unknown Lover, Boaz Aharonovitch’s ongoing photo-diary, documents a gardening project that took place in his studio. Incorporating photographic works and a single-channel video art installation, the archived garden is created from flowers, vegetation, and containers Aharonovitch collected from his immediate surroundings. Committed to the process, he cultivated his plants, staged them to create the most appealing image, and photographed them - hoping the image will attract an unknown lover. The outcome of the process is a meditation on the ephemerality of the garden as a metaphor for the passage of time and longing.
Aharonovitch’s curiosity about gardening began with a 30 days project in 2011 that resulted in an art book and a video work. Since the initial photo journal, his fascination with the subject and horticulture knowledge continues to deepen and has inspired a large body of work, becoming an integrated part of his practice.
Growing a Garden for an Unknown Lover exhibits highlights from this ongoing series in ZAZ10TS, a gallery located in the lobby of an office building at the hyper urban environment of Times Square. Presenting the works in this hectic context emphasizes the slow, organic, and intimate process that the works depict. It might offer the building’s community and passerby a private moment of contemplation and a pause from the never-ending race of the city.
CANT LET GO
CANT LET GO presents Sivan Dayan’s multidisciplinary study of glass as both a material and a metaphor. The exhibition incorporates performance, a site-specific installation, video, drawing, and painting. Glass is a rigid and solid substance of great inherent strength, yet very fragile. There isn’t flexibility or forgiveness for an artist that chooses to work with this material, as once cracked it is doomed to break. Striving to reveal its true nature, Dayan obsessively experiments with the materiality and the concept of glass. By interacting, observing, reconstructing and decontextualizing, she embeds glass with personal meaning.
Glass is a binary material with only two possible states, either unbroken and useful or shattered and useless. When intact, its clarity projects a sense of integrity and purity, while its impenetrability promotes a sense of protection. However, it takes no more than a split second to crack this facade of solidness and splinter the useful glass into a useless pile of bits and pieces.
In her performance, video works, and site-specific installation, Dayan deploys this tension, emphasizing the unbearable lightness of shifting between those two very different modes. Freud argued that humans have a "death drive" toward self-destruction. Dayan uses Freud’s idea to activate her viewers, when she exposes them, both physically and mentally, to the potential danger embedded in her works. The brutal act of intentionally smashing sheets of glass suggests a violent destruction, akin to the hazardous condition of sharp bits of material, which are the outcome of that action.
In Dayan’s drawings, she observes the outcome of her former actions. She concentrates on a single piece of shredded glass, giving it her full attention, observing and recalling it’s shape and form onto a paper while emphasizing its aesthetic qualities. By doing so, she promotes this single useless piece into a higher rank. Further more, she is distancing the object from the act of impulse that created it. While the drawings are minimal and realistic, her oil paintings shift more freely. In her paintings, she reconstructs and recontextualizes those familiar shreds, camouflaging them in colorful imaginary environments. It may be her attempt to shake them off, but like the title of this exhibition suggests, she lacks the ability to let go.
Food & Art Experience
Group exhibition curated by Aya Goshen + Food experience by Lisa Mendelson
Including some of the most exciting Israeli artists in New York:
Avital Burg, Gal Cohen, Miriam Cabessa, Michal Geva, Noa Charuvi, Naomi Safran Hon, Ken Goshen, Reuven Israel, Rotem Reshef, Shay Arik, Yael Caffrey
ArtKitchen is a cultural pop-up experience that combines food and art. Mixing these different modes of creativity is designed to activate the viewers' senses - encouraging them to look, smell, taste, and participate in a one-off a kind event. Inspired by the space, the event is curated around a theme, idea, or project. ArtKitchen offers the audience a fresh perspective of cultural experiencing and appreciation.
Transient Land presents Michal Geva’s investigation of architecture and landscape from her homeland. Incorporating acrylic paintings done on wood panels, canvas, photographs, and glass. The works are painted on irregularly shaped surfaces that are formed by assembling found objects.
The starting point of each one of Geva’s paintings is a photograph, a neutral image of an existing place anchored in reality. By adding layers of paint and depicting fragments of landscapes and architectural structures, she deconstructs the image. Sometimes she dismisses the photographic source completely; in other cases, she leaves exposed traces of it in the painting. The outcome is paintings that seem like they were produced on the move; they leave an impression of passing through a place or a memory, grasping only random bits of visual information that are layered on top of one another. Random fragments of objects are recurring in the surfaces of the paintings since those are constructed from abandoned pieces of objects collected by Geva while wandering around her immediate surroundings.
Geva manages to transform “real” places into internal landscapes, injecting them with memories and moods. Transient Land offers the viewer a journey into those imaginary and fluid locations that are unrecognizable, impossible to track geographically, yet evoke a familiarity.