On the heels of the season that is both the most sacred and the most secular in US culture, Momenta Art is pleased to present Winter Break, an exhibition of recent paintings by four artists who approach the painted image or object with a critical eye trained on notions of the sacred. Some of the paintings resist being read literally, others provide a complexly balanced image for contemplation and focus. But all of the work acknowledges the problem of culture, reference, and association within the field of abstraction as something to be respected, not rejected. These works don’t try to sidestep reality, they keep their eyes trained on it – even as they back towards the infinite.
Marina Adams’ Peace Paintings are based on Buddhist mandalas and are intended as images to provide focus and balance to the viewer. The references in the work are unambiguous: They are studies of esoteric traditions, of symbolic routes towards enlightenment; yet they are sincere. They record an artist’s conflicts and resolutions; they record an active engagement with form and color. This effort returns the paintings, circularly, to the moment of their inception, as materializations of a state of mind that often gets orphaned, stranded between the poles of secular and religious ideology.
Peter Hopkins’ Hinge Paintings are large door-like paintings that provide both an outside and an inside space. They function as a literal allusion to another dimension. The outside, or public part, vocal and iridescent, is in itself a sufficient work. The inside, or private half, painted matte and withholding, may be exposed infrequently (or never), but it exists. While referring to medieval altarpieces, the paintings also allude to LP covers, both fold open to reveal their inner core and the promise of hidden meanings. Within this nexus of dualities, the works exist as things that must be entered by the viewer to fully engage the aura.
In his work, Robert Janitz considers paintings as non-sacred objects, or as objects with qualities that are equal to the environments that contain them and us – equal to walls, floors, ceilings, and the incidental marks and imperfections that those spaces present. The works diminish the centrality of painting as a sacred surface by activating the world that surrounds. Using diverse materials such as tulle and cardboard to provide simple illusions, Janitz creates that subtle vacillation that wakes us to what is seen.
Brooke Moyse references traditional landscape painting as a means to represent energy through a sacred space. The landscape acts as a space to visualize energy as a living force that exists behind appearances. Loosely painted but specifically architectural, her paintings define an active space that – despite conflict – identify, harmonize, and balance.
Marina Adams is a painter living and working in New York and Parma, Italy. Her work has been exhibited extensively in the United States and in Europe. She had a one-person exhibition at Magazzino d’Arte Moderna in Rome, Italy and had a recent solo exhibition at CUE Art Foundation in NYC. She received her MFA from Columbia University and is a visiting professor of art at Rhode Island School of Design.
Peter Hopkins lives in Connecticut and works in Bushwick. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and he is currently represented by Christopher Grimes Gallery, Los Angeles.
Robert Janitz was born in Germany and currently lives and works in Bushwick, NY. His work has been exhibited extensively in Germany, France, The Netherlands, and Argentina. His work was recently included in an exhibition at Canada, NY. He participated in Erik Moskowitz’s and Amanda Trager’s video Cloud Cuckoo Land which was exhibited at Momenta in 2008.
Brooke Moyse lives and works in New York. She received an MFA from NYU in 2006 and a BA from Bard College in 2001. She had a solo exhibition at Norte Maar, in Brooklyn, in 2009. Her work has been included in group exhibitions Storefront, Norte Maar, and Silvershed, in New York.