Photo Essays

Realism, Surrealism and Infographics at Williamsburg 2:ND Fridays

Out and about during Williamsburg 2:ND Friday on May 13th (all photos by author)

This past Friday May 13th marked Williamsburg 2:ND Fridays, a night of gallery openings and exhibition unveilings. I trekked around the neighborhood from the far north Causey Contemporary all the way down to Like the Spice gallery and checked out the shows. Here are my findings, in photo format.

The art on display ranged through tweaked realism, outright surrealism and an exciting venture into data visualization, featuring prescription drugs. Find links to the galleries and shows, plus their durations, at the bottom of the photo essay.

Causey Contemporary was the emptiest gallery space, but maybe I just missed the party. Two exhibitions share the space, Steven Dobbin’s Piercing the Mundane and Melissa Murray’s What the Birds Saw. I liked Dobbin’s silhouette sculpture more (at left) more than Murray’s weirdly high-school looking surreal drawings.

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John O’Connor’s What is Toronto??? opened at Pierogi Gallery. The brightly psychedelic paintings were immediately eye-catching, but what’s more interesting is the data and research that goes into them: these are hallucinogenic infographics.

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A woman leads a small boy through O’Connor’s work. It was a little harrowing to see the kid grabbing on to the thin wooden pieces.

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A close-up of one of O’Connor’s drawings. This one diagrams the uses and side-effects of common medicines.

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Figureworks hosted a group show called Political Unrest of work that took on the language of political cartooning for political critique. The works were conservative and not especially interesting.

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ventana244 hosted a lively panel discussion of augmented reality to mark their exhibition Decollage: Torn Exteriors — Augmented Realities for the Smartphone curated by Sarah Drury. The audience and speakers seemed to blur as the talk ran into debate throughout the crowd of the small space.

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Front Room gallery featured Ross Racine’s North of Piney Acres, an understated exhibition that might have been the most interesting art I saw all night. These small digital prints show the artist chopping and remixing aerial photos of suburban homes, tweaking them into vast subdivisions and surreal layouts.

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A close-up shot of one of Racine’s works.

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There was a band playing quiet though melodic ambient music in the front of the gallery to an intensely silent crowd. I kind of felt bad for intruding, but the background was kind of nice.

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Art blogger Brent Burket (AKA Heart as Arena) at Like the Spice gallery.

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Like the Spice gallery is hosting Jenny Morgan’s One and the Many, a show of realistic portraits that have tweaked into abstraction, adding shifts in color, interrupting lines and luminous backgrounds. It’s pretty work to look at, but to me it rarely moves past being illustrative.

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The largest canvas in Jenny Morgan’s show. Like the Spice was bustling with gallery goers the entire time I was there, weaving in and out of the crowd.

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Visitors checking out Morgan’s work.

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I hadn’t heard of Gitana Rosa gallery before this opening extravaganza. The space had Andrés García-Peña’s Revenge of the Bulls, a collection of saturated, poppy paintings that depicted bulls getting back at matadors. Spectating bulls smoke and drink “Sangre de Matador” while hapless matadors get tossed around. Though kitschy, these paintings got more fun and more interesting the more you looked at them. They’d be great in a Spanish restaurant.

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More of García-Peña’s paintings, with painter Tatiana Berg, artist Kim Westfall and art blogger Andrew Haarsager at front.

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Parker’s Box is hosting a collaborative exhibition-trade with French alternative art space 40msquared. Briac Leprêtre’s exhibition Like It Is was another highlight of my gallery night, with the artist’s chunky cement architectural figments standing sentinel on the gallery floor while delicate though mysterious paintings of empty house interiors in the process of being painted hung on the wall.

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Briac Leprêtre’s paintings at Parker’s Box.

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  • Melissa Murray and Steven Dobbin at Causey Contemporary (92 Wythe Avenue) runs through May 15
  • John O’Connor at Pierogi (177 North 9th Street) runs through June 12
  • Political Unrest at Figureworks (168 North 6th Street) runs through July 31
  • Decollage at ventana244 (244 North 6th Street) was open through May 8
  • Ross Racine at Front Room (147 Roebling Street) runs through May 29th
  • Jenny Morgan at Like the Spice (224 Roebling Street) runs through June 19th
  • Andrés García-Peña is open at Gitana Rosa (19 Hope Street)
  • Briac Leprêtre at Parker’s Box (192 Grand Street) runs through through June 19
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