Repetti Gallery, located on a sprawling industrial floor, announces a June exhibition that presents handmade pictorial antidotes to the ever increasing digitization of imagery. The artists, Gary Tenenbaum and Charnan Lewis, make paintings that (not unlike digital imagery) are created through the repeated application of dot-like marks.
Painting on a relatively intimate scale, Tenenbaum works with either oil and wax on linen, or gouache and pencil on handmade paper. He describes the paintings as “straightforward,” and says, “the process is about building and constructing light with color. Although there are historical references, there is also a learning curve with each new work. I’m trying to bring about and develop a form of abstraction inspired by the world around me.” His is a very organic process and (again, not unlike the function of a digital pixel) Tenenbaum describes his marks as being a way of creating light. “My work is in essence linked to light, the fundamental means by which we have vision. Through light we are able to behold color. Through color, surface, and the mark of a dot, I aspire to arrive at an abstract visual existence.”
Lewis creates symbolic representational imagery using edible cake frosting. A labor intensive process, she mixes the frosting in all colors and applies it with dots to form dense areas of color. Like Tenenbaum, her marks emulate the pixel (or maybe the pixels emulate the mark), but here the pop qualities of her surgery medium ease comparisons to crystallized digital imagery. Lewis embraces the crude, low craft aesthetic of her painting technique and has recently applied a similar sensibility to working with stickers, white out, pipe cleaners and animal toys. She says the work, “balances repetitive, obsessive doodling with a lazy-man’s collage of stickers on cold landscapes. All of these pieces depict moments of intimacy within stark, geometric terrains.”
Tenenbaum has just returned from Paris where he was awarded a month residency at the Cite International des Arts. In 2004 he held a solo exhibition at James Graham & Sons, J|G contemporary, NYC. He has been included in many group shows through each of the last 5 decades, including Whitney Museum (NY) in 1973, and the Aldrich Musuem (Ridgefield, CT) in 1972. Tenenbaum attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture after receiving his MFA from Yale in 1967.
Lewis’ frosted police car was featured at the 2006 Queens International: Everything All at Once, at the Queens Museum of Art. She has participated in numerous group shows including the BAC Festival, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Spain, 2005. Lewis won the Graduate Painting Award, and received her MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD in 2004.