Sunday, January 19, 2014

Jonathan Ferrara Gallery

mid-January 2014

Regarding the Incidence of Purpose
a memorial retrospective
of the work of
Sandy Chism
1957 - 2013

curated by Matthew Weldon Showman 
1 January - 8 February 2014 
Reception: Saturday 1 February, 6-9pm 


Jonathan Ferrara Gallery is proud to announce Regarding the Incidence of Purpose, a memorial retrospective of the work of artist Sandy Chism curated by Matthew Weldon Showman. One year after the artist's passing, the exhibition honors Chism and her work. Regarding the Incidence of Purpose will be on view from 1 January through 7 Feburary, 2014, with opening receptions on Saturday, January 4th, 5-7pm, Saturday January 11th, 5-8pm and February 1st, 6-9pm.

Sandy Chism was a Professor of Painting in the Newcomb Department of Art at Tulane University from 1996 - 2012.  She had a BFA from University of Kansas and an MFA from University of Arizona where she studied under famed painter Robert Colescott. Chism had six solo exhibitions with the gallery since 1999 and her work has been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally. In July of 2000, a ten-year survey of her work was exhibited at the Contemporary Arts Center, entitled Sandy Chism: A Survey and included paintings as well as large scaled mixed-media installations. A catalog was published by the Contemporary Arts Center.  She has received grants from the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the Pollock Krasner Foundation and been awarded residencies at the Santa Fe Art Institute and the First International Colony of Artists in Debrecen, Hungary. Her paintings are featured in the permanent collections of the New Orleans Museum of Art, Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation Collection in Los Angeles, Emprise Bank in Witchita, Kansas and Liquitex Paints, New Jersey. Chism's work has been reviewed in Art in America, New Orleans Art Review, The Times-Picayune, Gambit Weekly, Forum Magazine and The Journal Santa Fe. She is known for her works that combine the ethereal and the concrete. Similarly, her work often incorporates imagery to describe the flux between opposites in nature such as the cycles of life and death, the single versus the multiple, the micro and the macro, stillness and frenzy and chaos versus order.

Showman describes the artist's body of work:

Regarding the Incidence of Purpose; this phrase inherently poses juxtaposition in concept. Similarly, Sandy Chism's paintings are wrought with these sorts of contradictions: strength/weakness, conflict/accord, natural/man-made, real/imagined, hope/despair . . . This internal struggle can be seen in all of the various bodies of work that Chism produced over her 35 year career. Presented side by side in this exhibition, these works illustrate one seamless narrative of struggle, memory and nature. The paintings consistently air poetically towards the positive. Chism created haunting yet uplifting visions to profoundly inspire the viewer.
On January 2nd, 2013, Chism died from ovarian cancer at age 55. Her spirit lives on through her work. The Sandy Chism Estate is represented by Jonathan Ferrara Gallery.
 For any inquiries please contact Matthew Weldon Showman

    Chism's other exhibitions at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery
In the Trying, 2012  
Sliver, 2010 
Small Wonder, 2006 
Closer, 2004   

In Between2003  

Stillness In Frenzy, 2001 
(online gallery not available)

Generic Art Solutions (G.A.S)
Fútbol: The Beautiful Game
curated by Franklin Sirmans
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Los Angeles, CA
2 February - 20 July 2014
Fútbol: The Beautiful Game examines the subject of football-nicknamed by one sports commentator The Beautiful Game-and its interactions with societies around the world. As a subject, football touches on issues of nationalism and identity, globalism and mass spectacle, as well as the common human experience shared by spectators from many cultures. Celebrating the sport on the eve of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the exhibition includes approximately thirty artists from around the world, working in video, photography, painting and sculpture. Two room-sized video installations-Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, by the artists Philippe Parreno and Douglas Gordon, and Volta by Stephen Dean-anchor the exhibition. Other works by artists including Miguel Calderon (whose 2004 video Mexico v. Brasil represents a 17-0 victory for Mexico), Robin Rhode, Kehinde Wiley, and Andy Warhol provide a sense of the miraculous possibilities of the sport as universal conversation piece.

Gina Phillips
I Was Trying Hard to Think About Sweet Things
Ogden Museum of Southern Art
New Orleans, LA
5 October 2013 - 27 January 2014

I Was Trying Hard to Think About Sweet Things -a mid-career survey by New Orleans artist Gina Phillips continues at The Ogden Museum of Southern Art. 
Born in 1971 in Madison, Kentucky, Gina Phillips is a painter, sculptor, fabric artist, educator and musician. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from University of Kentucky in 1994, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Tulane University in 1997. Phillips' work has been exhibited across the US and in Europe including Prospect.2 Biennial, Ballroom Marfa, Mobile Museum of Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, The University of Kentucky and the Acadiana Center For the Arts. Her work is included in the private and public collections worldwide, including the University of Kentucky, Lexington; New Orleans Museum of Art; Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, Los Angeles; The House of Blues Collection; NASA; and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, 21c Museum, Louisville; Marilyn Oshman, Houston, TX and The Drake Hotel, Toronto, Canada.
Hailing from rural Kentucky, Phillips' childhood was spent surrounded by a musical and artistic family known for their mechanical and creative abilities. Her grandmother was a self-taught artist and Phillips learned early on that almost anything can be re-used to create something functional or artistic. This exhibition will include works from throughout her career-from her Kentucky early years with raw narrative works made from paint, wood, metal and fabric, to her most recent narrative paintings and sophisticated fabric work created on her "free-motion thread-drawing machine" in her studio in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans. 
The exhibition runs through January 27, 2014.
Gina Phillips. Fort Dirt Hole, 2013. fabric, thread, ink and paint. 156" x 324"
Closing Performance
Saturday 18 January

As her 20 year retrospective show draws to a close (closing 27 January), Gina Phillips will sing some of her funny sad songs in the exhibition space on the 5th floor of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art on Saturday, January 18 at 3 o'clock. Her music and art inform each other...filling in the blanks of intertwining narratives . The title of the show itself comes from one of her song's lyrics. Her bandmates will be joining her: Ross Karsen sings and plays guitar, Steve Walkup on percussion and Monica McIntyre sings and plays cello for this intimate performance.

Margaret Munz-Losch
Reflecting Realism
Wright Art Gallery, Delta State University
Cleveland, Mississippi
19 January -  21 Ferbuary 2014
Reception Sunday, January 20th 2 - 4pm 

The Wright Art Center Gallery at Delta State University is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition REFLECTING REALISM set to open with a public opening reception for the artists on Sunday, January 19 from 2 - 4 PM.  Exhibiting their works will be sculptor William Beckwith of Taylor, MS; painters Charles Carraway of Terry, MS; Laurin McCracken of Ft. Worth, TX; Richard Kelso of Jackson, MS; Margaret Munz-Losch of Somerville, TN; and Jerrod Partridge of Jackson, MS.
Margaret Munz-Losch's work reflects a deep fascination with mystery and adventure. Her vivid compositions observe complex---and sometimes uneasy---relationships between the natural world, art, and identity which result often in surrealistic dreamscapes which marry the mundane and the fantastical.  As an emerging artist, she exhibited her work in Los Angeles. She also became the director of a mural company during her time there before moving to Tennessee. Margaret's work has appeared in group and solo shows and most recently she was awarded winner of the No Dead Artists competition at the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans, LA.
REFLECTING REALISM will be available for viewing from January 19 through February 21, 2014.  The gallery is open Monday through Thursday 8 AM - 8:30 PM and on Friday 8 AM - 4:30 PM.  For further information please contact the Art Department at 662-846-4720.

Skylar Fein
The Lincoln Bedroom
C24 Gallery
New York, NY
1 November 2013 - 22 February 2014
The exhibition presents an installation continuing the artist's re-envision of historic moments and figures. Fein's exhibition will be on view November 1, 2013 - February 22, 2014.

Abraham Lincoln shared a bedroom with Joshua Speed in the 1830s in Springfield, IL. Many historians, biographers, and scholars have speculated about the nature of their relationship, causing an ongoing debate about Lincoln's sexuality. Fein's work combines factual and fictional histories, and proposes evidence of these uncertain moments through his imagery and objects. Since no photographs exist of the Speed residence, the artist relied on photos and sketches of similar structures, as well as on his imagination to create an impressionistic, and slightly hallucinatory re-creation that is far from a museum period-room.
Visitors will have the opportunity to enter Fein's vision by walking up the stairs above the Speed shop and entering the bedroom. They will be greeted by the faint smell of hay and tobacco, and hear music reminiscent of that moment in time. The artist and his team have recreated the facade of the Speed store, along with a replica of the painted miniature of Judge John Speed, the family patriarch, and Speed and Lincoln's bed - complete with straw-stuffed mattress, among other décor and furnishings.

For his research Fein went to Louisville, KY to spend time with the remaining Speed family. He toured Farmington, the family plantation of John Speed, which still stands in immaculate 1840s condition. At the conclusion of Fein's visit, he received approval from Virginia Speed, a noted art collector and philanthropist, and her assurance that she would view the installation along with other members of the Speed family.

"It would have been nice to have a Speed and a Lincoln be the first people to walk through the installation," Fein says. "But there are no Lincolns left." Abraham Lincoln's last undisputed descendant, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died childless in 1985.  

Read more about The Lincoln Bedroom
featured in:
Dan Tague and Krista Jurisich
Decisive Moments
Photographs from the Cherye R. and James F. Pierce Collection
Honolulu Museum of Art
Honolulu, Hawaii
18 December 2013 - 8 June 2014 

Decisive Moments is drawn from the extensive, rich collection of 20th-century and contemporary photographs assembled over 40 years by Jim and Cherye Pierce.

French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson wrote in the preface to his 1952 book Images à la Sauvette (published as Decisive Moments in the U.S.), "To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as ofa precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression." His well-known "decisive moment" image Behind the Gare St. Lazare, of a man in mid-step over a puddle, opens this exhibition. His capturing that precise moment imbues the image with its visual power and magic.

This exhibition of 80 images from the Pierce collection examines the idea of the decisive moment as it has evolved in photographic practice from the early 20th century to the present-from Cartier-Bresson's well-timed click of the camera shutter to Sandy Skoglund's Fresh Hybrid, in which she created an elaborate scene of found materials and real and fake models. Over the last century photographers have had a much more deliberate, manipulative approach, conceptualizing and constructing their own decisive moments, controlling the visual, psychological, and emotional impact of their images through darkroom techniques, the staging of images, the use of new technologies such as computer digital imaging, and the incorporation of non-photographic media and materials.

The exhibition examines these strategies through the works of artists such as:

Diane Arbus, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Binh Danh, Dawn DeDeaux, William Eggleston, Dan Estabrook, Lotte Jacobi, Krista Jurisich, Yousuf Karsh, André Kertesz, Soo Kim, Deborah Luster, Robert Mapplethorpe, Daido Moriyama, Irving Penn, Sandy Skoglund, Dan Tague, Maggie Taylor, Michael Wolf, and many more.


Guns in the Hands of Artists 
featured in 

International Edition
January 2014


The gallery owner Jonathan Ferrara is a man on a mission. In 1996, along with artist Brian Borrello, Ferrara organized the first Guns in the Hands of Artists exhibition in New Orleans. This inspired initiative involved turning guns removed from the city's streets into works of art. Painters, glass artists, sculptors, photographers and poets used the firearms to produce challenging works that addressed the issue of gun control in the US. Ferrara is now reprising the project, working with city authorities and the New Orleans Police Department to obtain weapons by way of its gun buy-back program. Artists including Rashaad Newsome, Mel Chin, Skylar Fein, Deborah Luster, Peter Sarkisian, Dan Tague, Andrei Codrescu, Luis Cruz Azaceta and Bradley McCallum will transform the guns into art; their works are due to go on show at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in an exhibition timed to coincide with Prospect.3Notes for Now, the New Orleans biennial (25 October 2014 - January 2015).

Tribute Exhibition for Sandy Chism
work by over sixty friends, colleagues, students and mentors
curated by Laura Richens
The Carroll Gallery, Tulane University
New Orleans, Louisiana

13 - 30 January 2014
 Reception Thursday, January 16, 5:30 - 7:30 pm 

New Orleans LA - Jan. 2 2014 - The Carroll Gallery in Tulane's Newcomb Art Department will host the exhibition "A Tribute to Sandy Chism:  an exhibition of work by friends, colleagues, students and mentors" from January 13 - 30th.  Sandy Chism was an associate professor of painting and drawing at Tulane who passed away in January of 2013.

"This exhibition will bring together work by so many people who were influenced by Sandy in one way or another, and we hope it will serve as a fitting tribute.  She was an inspiring professor to so many, a wonderful colleague, and an artist of such evocative works," said Laura Richens, Curator of the Carroll Gallery in the Newcomb Art Dept.   

Participating artists include:  Zarouhie Abdalian, Raine Bedsole, Eleanor Bernadas, Simonette Berry, Taylor Bonds, Lisa Bulawsky, Ellen Bull, Angela Burks, Joseph Burwell, Kyle Chaput, Teresa Cole, Aaron Collier, Liese Dart, Bonita Day, Alyssa Dennis, Laura Doughtie, Becky Durham, Jennifer Drinkwater, Eden Gass, David Gillies, Brian Glaser, Margot Goodan, Rachel Granberry, Adam Hall, Ronna Harris, Brian Hitselberger, Emily Huffman, Jennifer Ickes, Maureen Iverson, Jeremy Jernegan, Josh Knott, Yasamin Keshtakar, Karyn Kirke, Molly Knobloch, Casey Lard, Victoria Le, Nicole Lehrer, Barbie L'Hoste, Kathleen Loe, Allison McAshan, Judith Burns McCrea, Amy McKinnon, Kayleigh Maier, Madeline Marak, Ali Mills, Lance Morris, Lara Mossler, Adam Mysock, Matteo Neivert, Jamie Oliver, Gina Phillips, Marc-Anthony Polizzi, Laurel Porcari, Laura Richens, David Robinson, Blake Sanders, Hannah March Sanders, Karoline Schleh, Gordon Sherman, Billy Solitario, Alexis Stahl, Ben Trinh, Annie Walker, Josh Windham, Bronwen Wyatt, and others.

The exhibition's Artists' Reception will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 16.  The reception is free and open to the public.

Adam Mysock  

Gina Phillips, Nikki Rosato, Dan Tague and
featured in 
NOAR - New Orleans Art Review

October - December 2013




For my director notes this month, coinciding with Regarding the Incidence of Purpose, I would like to share with you Jonathan Ferrara's reflections on his relationship with Sandy Chism . . . 

In Memoriam ---

"I first met Sandy Chism when she was selected for the 1999 No Dead Artists Juried Exhibition.  She was a Professor of Painting at Tulane University and had only been in New Orleans for a year or so.  I was drawn to her work and to her wonderful spirit and enthusiasm for her work and art in general.  I immediately offered her an exhibition at my fledgling gallery on Baronne Street and that began a 14-year relationship that produced numerous works of art, exhibitions and, most importantly, an enduring friendship.  She was an artist at heart, an instructor by profession and a kind and gentle soul with a powerful voice and spirit.

As a professor, her influence on the creative landscape of New Orleans and beyond is well documented by the success of her former students...from Gina Phillips to Adam Mysock, Aaron Collier, Eden Gass, Amy McKinnon, Sidonie Villere, Laurel Porcari, and Billy Solitario among the many.  She was revered for her intellect and for her attention to detail. 

As the longest running artist I had at the gallery, I counted Sandy among the many mentors I have had over my almost twenty year gallery career.  I would always solicit her opinion when considering an artist, ask her what she thought of current trends in the art world and, when I had more time in my life, ask her about my own work and the various processes she employed in her work.  She was, as always, very forthcoming and I know she knew that her wisdom was being incorporated into my vision for the gallery.  She was there at the beginning and we worked together on seven exhibitions over 14 years.  I was privileged to be able to see her aesthetic evolve over the years and yet, still maintain the same through line as she explored her creative vision.  The juxtaposition of opposites was always there in her work...from stillness to frenzy, chaos to order, the digital to the natural, she incorporated these juxtapositions within the work.  Other references seen in her work include the tangles and knots she so dearly loved, the ever-present grid and the horizon line that harkens back to her Kansas roots.

The very first exhibition in 1999 at my old Baronne Street gallery was a fantastic combination of paintings and installations.  One that comes to mind is a major installation that involved water dripping onto a salt pillar that would slowly dissolve over time and at the same oxidize metal elements within the piece.  It was a wonderful show, which led to her first review as well as the gallery's first review in Art In America.  It was a magical moment as that review bolstered both of our hopes for a bright future in the art world.  Soon thereafter in 2000 her mid career retrospective, Sandy Chism: A Survey, followed at the Contemporary Art Center with a published catalog.  This cemented her reputation as one of the premier artists in New Orleans and the South. In 2001, her highly successful From Stillness to Frenzy exhibition took place at my old Carondelet Street gallery.  That led to a major acquisition by the New Orleans Museum of Art and major local collectors acquiring almost the entire body of works.  This exhibition had the sublimely beautiful "iceberg" paintings she later became known for.  They had such a serene calming beauty to them that, one day to my surprise, I literally discovered a visitor in the back gallery sitting on the floor in front of one painting meditating in the Lotus position.  Her work inspired such reactions and evoked an inner peace that radiates from the canvas.

In 2003 and 2004, Sandy began to explore the abstract gestural side of her work.   The In Between and Closer exhibitions saw her incorporate 1950's fabric into her canvases.  She would layer swaths of the fabric across the surface of the canvas that would appear to be pixilated when painted over with her gestural strokes and pourings.  This was her creating the juxtaposition between the digital and natural world and also between stillness and frenzy. Several works from this suite were exhibited in Hungary as part of an international cultural exchange.  A few of these works including one from my own collection are featured in the middle gallery.

In August of 2005, Sandy, like a majority of New Orleans, suffered the wrath of Hurricane Katrina... Hers was an especially traumatic experience as her home and studio got over 12 feet of water during the flood.  She had worked tirelessly to build a beautiful new studio with large glass windows so she could commune with nature as she painted; all to be taken away in that fateful storm.  Sandy, like so many New Orleans artists, sought refuge at various artist residencies across the country...Sandy at The Santa Fe Art Institute.  There she created her homage to Katrina in the beautifully haunting Levee Break featured in the main gallery.
This painting toured the country as a part of the 2006 traveling exhibition New Orleans Artists in Exile that went to New York, Atlanta, Miami, Shreveport and Wisconsin.

In 2006, for the annual opening of the art season, Art For Arts' Sake, we debuted a brand new body of work, Small Wonder. Katrina had so affected her...she was still rebuilding her home years later and painting out of her Tulane office...that she embarked on a suite of works to relieve and communicate the experience of the storm.  I remember vividly, her telling me that she was so dumbstruck when she returned after a month to her Gentilly home to see the destruction wrought by the storm.  As she entered she remembered that she had left a plate of bread and butter on the dining room table.  She was amazed to find that, in the storm, the table had risen up 12 feet and settled back on the floor and that the bread and butter were still on the plate and untouched. The bread was moldy but the butter was just the way it had been left.  This reality transfixed her; she commented how could something so fragile survive something so destructive.  Ever the artist and the mirror of the world, Sandy managed to take that thought and create an entire body of work from it.  At around the same time, a friend had given her a small animal figurine.  She saw in this figurine a certain strength and also a certain fragility...just like the butter.  So, she created the works in Small Wonder, which, by her placement of the figurine within the canvas, imbued a sense of presence and power to these tiny animals.  Several of the works in the exhibition were almost 8 feet tall and 4 feet wide.  The remaining Small Wonder works are featured in the main gallery as well.

Still reeling from Katrina, from 2007 to 2009, Sandy focused on rebuilding her home and studio.  And in 2010 she debuted Sliver, an exhibition large paintings and metal works.  As she said so eloquently...these large-scale works of roller coasters, rocket trails and bees hover around the verge of change. Likewise, compositions and variations in the speed of working hinge on change. Both the process and the series vacillate between full and fast and then suddenly still and empty. Like the feeling you get in your chest when you swing too high, careening into space and then briefly, you're just hanging there.  Two of these large-scale paintings are in the main gallery.

In 2012, fully aware of the progress of her cancer, Sandy embarked on her last solo exhibition.  I can still remember visiting with her and discussing the paintings of coal tipples she was working on.  She had become fascinated with these antiquated structures. The tipples resemble ladders. They evoke aspirations to climb out of the steep embankments. Similarly, they recall feeble towers of Babel; their frailty is a result of abandoned beginnings. To celebrate this impulse to get above base origins, I have adorned the structures and surroundings with spare but intense color, a small residue of imagined high mindedness. Yet, the physical structures still struggle to rise above thicker paint or rushing perspectives. Age and entropy make merely maintaining verticality a virtue and a goal.  This was to be her last body of work.  While we talked she asked me to take care of her work after she was gone making sure that I was okay with that.  It was the first time I had ever been asked that question and it caught me so off guard I had to simply hug her trying to deny the reality that she had come to accept. 

This exhibition is in honor of Sandy, in honor of that commitment and in honor of her wonderful creative spirit.  She lives on through her work and her influence is felt in the work of her students.  She was talent lost too young, a spirit gone too fast, a friend taken too soon.  This is for you Sandy...I miss you."

--- Jonathan Ferrara

400a Julia Street | New Orleans, LA 70130

Gallery Hours
Monday - Saturday | 10am - 5pm
and by appointment

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