FROM BROOKLYN WITH LOVE Joe Amrhein, Mike Ballou, John Bjerklie, Matt Blackwell, Gregory Forstner, Eric Heist, Fay Ku, Nickolas Lascot, Abigail Lazkoz, Trong Nguyen, Laura Parnes, Steven Parrino, Bruce Pearson, Eileen Quinlan, Fernando Renes, Jean Shin, Joshua Stern, Cheyney Thompson, Momoyo Torimitsu, Fabien Verschaere, Susan Wanklyn, Michael Waugh, Walt Whitman.
Parker’s Box is delighted to present “From Brooklyn with Love”, an exhibition of works by twenty-three artists who found inspiration, motivation, a home, a studio (and no doubt love) in the fertile and creative climate of the borough. Through this eclectic selection of artists, Parker’s Box pays homage to the creativity of Brooklyn that has nurtured, supported and encouraged the gallery since its launch exactly eight years ago. The show includes works by artists passing through and others who’ve been here forever, works by artists of many different origins who made Brooklyn their base, and works by artists who have become symbols of the borough’s art world, and even its history… More than a third of the participating artists have exhibited at Parker’s Box before, including Joshua Stern who appeared in the inaugural exhibition, and subsequently had two solo shows; Cheyney Thompson, who was seen in the gallery’s third exhibition (a two-person show) and is currently participating in the Whitney Biennial; John Bjerklie who has been involved in various Parker’s Box exhibitions and special projects; Fabien Verschaere in solo and group shows, and Mike Ballou, Matt Blackwell, Gregory Forstner, and Fay Ku, whose work appeared in group shows and/or curatorial projects.
Rather than being a theme, the show’s title is perhaps an indicator of a common spirit or resonance that, at different times, and in different neighborhoods, has sprung from the borough, perhaps following the destinations of artists from Williamsburg and Bushwick, to Red Hook and Bed-Stuy, etc… In this context, all of the artists have been chosen for the respect we have for their work, and the feeling that for multiple, contrasting reasons, Brooklyn has them in its blood- or vice versa. A myriad artists could correspond to this loose premise, of course, and our choice goes from artists like Fabien Verschaere, who has spent relatively little time here, but quickly made Brooklyn a strong part of his visual language; to Steven Parrino, whose rock n’roll Brooklyn biker existence fuelled his aura that has contributed to his fame, and its exploitation, since his untimely death (apparently caused by a Williamsburg pothole); to local celebrities like Joe Amrhein and Mike Ballou, who have done much to support the local scene, while unquestionably deserving greater recognition as artists.
So the choice of artists and work has been a consciously organic process, corresponding to the desire that From Brooklyn with Love should be an animal with a life of its own, much like the artistic life of the borough. We trust that if Walt Whitman is watching, he’ll be content to be represented in this exhibition, as well as being satisfied to see that his wish that “the spirit which prompts [Art Exhibitions] will increase and multiply in Brooklyn” continues to be fulfilled.