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Hadassah Emmerich – Chitra Ganesh – Dona Nelson – Haeri Yoo

Thomas Erben Gallery
526 West 26th Street, 4th Floor, 212-645-8701
December 16, 2008 - February 1, 2009
Reception: Tuesday, December 16, 6 - 8:30 PM
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In this exhibition, four artists of diverse backgrounds, generations and thematic interests come together with four, exceptional, large-scaled works, to probe a current sensibility in contemporary visual art making. Having broken the hold of the hegemony of the image, these artists exemplify a shift in cultural consciousness itself towards the cohabitation of meta-narratives on an un-weighted plane. Often piece-meal in appearance, the disinterest in unification is merely a byproduct of these artists’ analytical appreciation for the cultural. At all times thoughtful and dynamic, the works on view dissolve the schizophrenic, illogical taint of multiple intentionality.

In the creation of her piece, Witches Mirror, Hadassah Emmerich (b. 1974, Heerlen, NL) employs ink, watercolor, charcoal, acrylic and linocut on paper. Of Dutch, German and Indonesian descent, Emmerich takes inspiration from illuminated manuscripts, the persona of Paul Gauguin and the modernist equalization of the organic to the sexual. Her work breathes life into an ongoing contemporary exploration of the ‘Exotic’. Moving beyond a simple critique of classical Orientalist tendencies, Witches Mirror folds in a rich mixture of pop culture, art history, the baroque, the beautiful and the profane to reveal the construction of what creates an ‘Other’. Selected exhibitions: Tiger Lily, Galerie Akinci, Amsterdam, 2006; Casino Exotique, K├╝nstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 2008; Be[com]ing Dutch, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, NL; In the Shadows. Images of the New Pop Romanticism, Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Germany, 2008; Dark Continents, MoCA, Miami, 2008.

Chitra Ganesh, known for wall drawings, works on paper, photographs and her seminal series of digital collages inspired by the classic Amar Chitra Katha Hindu comics, presents her largest-to-date digital collage. Her Shimmering Pulse utilizes the rich visual vocabulary Ganesh has amassed, while doing away with the traditional comic panels, that once kept her complex, confounding narratives from melding into a fantastic chaos. This uncharacteristic, but potent abundance still harbors Ganesh’s linguistic disjunctions while her queer, feminist and camp motifs successfully dissolve all traces of compartmentalization due to Ganesh’s decision to create a full world around their cohabitation. Selected exhibitions: Fatal Love, Queens Museum of Art, 2005; Sub-Contingent, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy, 2006; One Way or Another, Asia Society, New York, 2006 (traveling); Thermocline of Art – New Asian Waves, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany, 2007; Of this tale, I cannot guarantee a single word, Royal College of Art, London, 2008; D.E.N. Gallery, Culver City, CA, 2008; 7 Beauties, Contrasts Gallery, Shanghai – Beijing, 2008. Forthcoming: Modern India (India Moderna), IVAM, Valencia, Spain, 2008-09; The Ocean Beneath, Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai, India, 2009; The Empire Strikes Back, Saatchi Museum, London, 2009.

In Dona Nelson’s return to the gallery after her exceptionally well-received, Spring solo-exhibition, she eloquently restates her productive and progressive nature. In Nelson’s punctured and hosed 2008 painting, Night Studio, the image of the stretcher bars suggests architecture, the front of the painting, an interior occupied space, and the back of the painting, a vast exterior space. Through the removal of the originary stretcher bars, the relationship to the painting is made more immediate, while ironically, the trace of these lost props remains a constant subject of Nelson’s work, more so than when physically present. Over the years, Nelson’s work has received extensive critical support including numerous reviews in the New York Times, Art in America, The New Yorker, The Village Voice and Artforum. Her work has been favored and discussed by many notable curators and historians such as Lucy Lippard, Klaus Kertess, Lisa Liebman and Sanford Schwartz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, the Guggenheim Museum and other important institutions as well as private collections have included Nelson’s work in their holdings.

After her critically addressed and widely collected solo-debut at the gallery this year, Haeri Yoo presents a new large-scaled painting that highlights the artist’s “wild, emotive [and] raw” impulses as presented in a mature, contemplative palette, a collision of angles and a re-contextualization of the figurative as bodily unconscious. Yoo fills her playful visual fields with aggressive, deliberate brushwork, adding a heightened emotive quality to her otherwise intuitive, anarchic wilderness. The differences between self and canvas are pilled up, rather than dissolved, in Yoo’s emotive Cubism where human, animal and the abstract collide in agony. Selected exhibitions: Pia Maria Martin, Haeri Yoo, Yuh-Shioh Wong, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, 2007; Fresh illusions, White Box Gallery, New York, 2007; Tatsuya Matsushita, Ai Shinohara, Haeri Yoo, Mehr Gallery, New York, 2008; Defining a Moment, House of Campari Art Exhibition, New York, 2008; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA, 2008; Pain Patch, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, 2008. Forthcoming: Monica de Cardenas, Milan, 2009; Paintwork, Saatchi Museum, London, 2009.
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