Being Essex Flowers
Justin Berry, Phillip Birch, Amanda B. Friedman, Heather Guertin, Tatiana Kronberg, Joshua Smith, Lizzie Wright
March 22 - April 19, 2015

Applied to Phillip Birch, Heather Guertin, and Amanda B. Friedman’s work, the concept of “being” has this mysterious, existential, maybe cosmic bent. It underlines Phil’s fascination with primordiality, and the way his unnerving sculptures try to forge a pathway between nothingness and existence. It directs us towards the unoccupied spaces on Heather’s canvasses, revealing the way that those painted atmospheres make the painted figures appear freshly emerged from The Beginning; appear as though they’re evolving through those voids rather than living in them. It supports Amanda’s use of painting as a way inward, as a means of exploring the notion of a supernatural reality.

Lizzie Wright and Tatiana Kronberg make art that renders the concept human. Sculptures in Lizzie’s oeuvre present sex in a prismatic way, refracting the sociological onto the biological, the two merging in and beaming through the lens of humor. Tatiana jointly employs the powers
of suggestion and disembodiment. Together, they toy with our impulse to seek meaning, reminding that “meaning” is as fragile and fluid as the reality it helps us to construct.

The idea feels human in a different way in Joshua Smith or Justin Berry’s work, pointing out towards the world we have created for ourselves. I always bought the anonymously-written argument about Joshua’s monochromes over on The Painted Wrd,* an argument that goes about contextualizing that storied strain of painting in the age of the Internet. If the Internet renders more and more of our lived experiences incorporeal, so the discussion goes, Joshua’s carefully and precisely colored canvases provide a space to reconnect with our physicality by experiencing theirs. My paraphrasing, of course. Finally, asserting the inextricableness of leisure, agency, and beauty to the human experience and studying the way that the Internet’s ubiquity has changed these, Justin looks not to the analog for their contemporary iterations, but instead forages for them deep within the screens and wires surrounding us.

Each of these artists along with Patrick Brennan and I, cooperatively run Essex Flowers gallery in New York City. There, we come together to think about, show, and revel in art.

Talking Monochrome Blues || The Painted Wrd, June 14th, 2012