Uncool Gallery

obsess
and observe

/opening reception:  June 6, 2024, 6 – 8 PM
On view until 06.15.2024

/curated by:                Carolina Paz

/presented artists:      Alejandro Macias, Marta Monteiro, Vanessa Lam, Forrest Wilson, Kiwoun Shin, Amy Deal, A/Bel Andrade, Sarah Beilenson, Borja Colom Borafull, Brenda Sabbagh, Jay Lee, Albert NG, Melissa Sclafani, Lauren Grudzien, Kate Greenberg, Esther Bonder, Luana Seu, Sangho Han, Erika Choe

“obsess and observe,” a succinct title to capture the nuanced exploration of dualities presented in the artworks of the Winter/Spring 2024 exhibition by the UA Residency Program. A season with twenty resident artists coming from diverse regions of the United States and other countries, including Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong, Romania, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, and Poland. Across their varied backgrounds, they navigate contrasts such as representation and abstraction, and reality and imagination. Material and conceptual elements – fragments, repurposed finds, grief, intimacy, identity, fantasy, and their connection to the residency and its surroundings – are recurrent, inviting viewers to explore the artists’ experiences during their time in the program.

Obsession and observation: two dimensions encapsulating their creative process. Each piece reflects a focused refinement, experimentation, and dedication to their craft: meticulous gestures, unconventional materials. Artists simultaneously observing and reflecting on their environment interactions and emotions within and beyond the studio walls. Through their works, viewers gain insight into the residency’s impact on the artists’ growth and personal development: another reflection to observe and obsess over.

Displayed within the Uncool Gallery storefront and the BNY residency studio, the artworks by Alejandro Macias, Albert Ng, A/Bel Andrade, Kate Greenberg, Kiwoun Shin, Brenda Sabbagh, Sangho Han, and Erika Choe embody dense, grounded, intimate explorations of identity, borders, and finitude. Macias delves into borderland identity and migration through an upside-down self-portrait. Shin captures the essence of time and reality in his videos, focusing on empty spaces, light, dust, and displacement.

Grudzien’s self-portrait photograph reflects the universal experience of transition and delusions of fantasies. Greenberg creates installations using memory resonance, amplifying audio recordings to produce cymatic paintings. Andrade’s sculptures of fragments and small found objects address themes of failure, healing, and articulation. Sabbagh’s paintings explore intimacy and the embodiment of memory. NG’s photographs objectify images of images and objects into images, examining disappearance through destruction and layers. Han’s paintings on wood boards trace his time in New York, capturing his emotional experiences. Choe’s video and sculpture installation examines the role of pregnancy as an act and the body as a vessel.

In contrast, pieces by Melissa Sclafani, Esther Bonder, Jay Lee, Luana Maria Seu, Vanessa Lam, Sarah Beleinson, Forrest Wilson, Marta Monteiro, Amy Deal and Borja Colom Bofarull evoke ethereal, provisional, and imaginative realms. Sclafani’s interactive flag installations use words and the color white to explore failure and disappointment.  Seu’s photographs of archetypes depict artists as societal misfits challenging the world. 

Monteiro’s work, found during last winter in Brooklyn, articulates formal and verbal tensions within the space. Lam uses abstraction to disrupt and reshape fragmented histories, inviting emotional navigation through her piece. Wilson blends fantastical imagery from Renaissance paintings, animated films, and video games to embody existential experiences. Lee’s bio-plastic works explore themes of decay and personal journey using organic materials. Beleinson combines prints and poetic imagery to explore inner discourses of the body. Bonder’s sculptures, inspired by her trip to Antarctica, represent the encapsulated ancient air bubbles escaping the ice. Deal experiments with collages, abstraction, and color, using various materials to explore different compositions. Colom’s work combines painting with architectural projects, exploring space and structure. The exhibition’s layout guides the viewers through a path from grounded works to suspended pieces, activating different dimensions of the spaces. This cadence encourages the exploration of the tensions between obsessive creation and objective observation within each artwork.

The visitor is invited to set their own pace, deciding which pieces deserve a closer look and which are best appreciated from a distance. What matters most is that each person fully immerses themselves in the present moment, engaging with the artworks with a profound intensity of attention.

Photos by Trevor Nathan and Alexandre Nix


ALBERT NG
Double Portrait of a Pottery dog, 2024
Acrylic, oil pastel, chalk, Inkjet print on paper
252 x 148 cm

 

 

 

 

 

My art centers around a kitsch toy from the 1960s, a symbol of vulnerability that has lost its original context over time. Despite this, it resonates with our current global consciousness, particularly our collective feelings about damage and healing. In an era defined by protests and the amplification of marginalized voices, we are transforming cities into unified communities, using the streets as our bulletin boards. The traces we leave behind symbolize the unconscious thoughts of everyone. My artwork stands as a monument to our times, capturing the unnoticed moments that shape history, only to be carried away by the winds of change.

Albert NG


A/BEL ANDRADE
Excavations, 2024
Four concrete tablets, rope, wood poles, various
objects found between 2021-2024 in NYC
22.5″ x 22.5″ x 2″ (approx.)

Abel Andrade (1996; Wellington, NZ)

“Excavations I-IV (An offering for St. Anthony)” are a series of four concrete tablets with various found-objects embedded in them, each tablet establishing an independent atmosphere and suggesting hints at the identities of the owners of these lost items. Surrounded by archeological-like roping, each Excavation acts as an invitation for reflection and observation inspired by the objects themselves. All of the items embedded in the tablets were collected between 2021-2024 while I lived and studied in New York, and were found along the sidewalks and in my daily life as I walked from my various homes to my various studios. These items tell not just a story of lost items in the city, but serve as an archive for my personal walking practice of scanning the ground as I navigate new spaces in search of physical mementos.

A/Bel Andrade

ALEJANDRO MACIAS
El Guerito, 2020
Oil, acrylic, graphite on panel
24 x 18 in

Alejandro Macias (1987, Brownsville, TX)
Lives and works in Tucson, AZ

(..) I am a second-generation Mexican-American who was born and raised in Brownsville, Texas, located at the southernmost point of the Texas-Mexico border. This region, commonly known as the Rio Grande Valley, remains a unique place for its fusion of Mexican and American cultures. The result of my lived experience has mirrored my engagement with traditional rendering, and my challenge with contemporary drawing and painting. My artistic endeavors typically use the human form as a vessel to speak on socio-political concerns that are most important to me. Many of my subjects are either compositionally divided or include a mixture of representational, abstract, and multi-media approaches, all of which act as a metaphor for my own upbringing along the United States-Mexico border. As I now contextualize my life on the southern Arizona border, I seek to gain a better understanding of my ethnic background while framing ideas on place, identity, assimilation, immigration, and cultural misconceptions.

Alejandro Macias

ALEJANDRO MACIAS
Connection (Portraits of Mark and Angelo), 2024
Graphite on panel
27.5 × 28 in (Each)

SARAH BELEINSON
“In the Key of ‘M'”, 2022
Typographic Experiments Series
Ink on Paper via Smith Corona manual typewriter.
11 x 8.5 in (unframed)

 

 

 

Sarah Beilenson is a multimedia artist, poet and musician based in New York City. She received her BFA in Recorded Music and Studio Art from the Tisch School of the Arts in 2017. Sarah has exhibited her work across the country and her poetry has been published both online and in print. She is currently working on completing her first Artist Book with Press.



BRENDA SABBAGH
Matter States from the “A subtle stability” Series,  2024
Oil on canvas
52 x 42 in




Brenda Sabbagh (1993; Buenos Aires, AR)

Through the concept of a cinematic frame, capturing an ordinary moment suspended in time, I investigate the intricacies of identity, tradition, and heritage within contemporary society. As an Argentinean visual artist and filmmaker, I aim to explore the profound impact of globalization and digitization on our perception of self and the ongoing negotiation of personal and collective identities.

Brenda Sabbagh

 

BRENDA SABBAGH
“A subtle stability” Series, 2024
Oil on polipropilene paper
12 x 9 in (Each)

 

 

 

BRENDA SABBAGH
Body Extensions” from the “A subtle stability” Series, 2024
Ceramics
8 x 4 in

 

MARTA MONTEIRO
The Lost Cinderella, 2024
Shoe, color tape and jewerly
66,93 x 3,93 x 7 cm

 

 

 

Starting from the concept of the South Korean philosopher Byung-Chul Han¹, in which “rituals transform being-in-the-world into being-at-home” and that the habitual concept of “throwing away” is confronted with the reality that ” there is no outside”, the works presented here reflect my research on the relationship between everyday consumption and the rituals and habits that we bring with us in our cultures, creations and daily rituals. In this sense, the materials limitations are resources for carrying out the works that confront daily consumption for the execution of works. Thus, the time of consumption becomes raw material and the work, the materialization of time.
Time, as an ethereal element, can also give rise to fables in which parallel universes can talk to the present, past and future through magical interpretations where spatial and temporal distances can be doubled.

Marta Monteiro

ERIKA CHOE
womb part I, 2024
Clay, canvas, paint, video, metal bucket, rubber tubing, 3D print
Dimension varies
Video (4.40)

My work journeys through the cracks of our human lives as sites to contemplate our knotted relationship between our bodies, technology and capitalism. I endeavor acts of physicalizing, reproducing, ritualizing and ghosting to ask questions such as “is the body necessary to be human?”, “will my watery being seep into others?”, “can i inhabit more than one shell?”
womb is an interrogation into the performance of pregnancy, the abstraction of birth, and the role it plays socially and culturally. Throughout the workings of this piece, I am driven by the tensions between the externalities of a body swelling during the carry of another, and the internal construction of interwoven existences and fluid affinities. I ask my spectator to sit in the potential of permeable and undulating states of being, to consider what continues to evolve beneath what meets the eye.

Erika Choe

SANGHO HAN
new yorker, 2024
Acrylic, pencil, house paint, graphite on wood panel
72 x 5 in

 

Paintings are all connected. and also this is all about continuity. Like Federico Fellini’s 8 and 2/1, like Honore de Balzac’s the human comedy, I tried to understand everyone I met in my life. And the attempts always failed. I’m a painter who is interested in the history of abstraction. Currently I’m using different materials such as canvas, woods, paper and walls with my drawing practices. First of all, drawing and painting on two or three pieces of canvas, wood that have been joined together to make a one piece. More specifically, I’m working on a 6 ft and 7 inches wood using acrylics, pencils and house paint. In general, 2-5 canvases are completed in one work, and the work re-arranged depending on the space where they are installed. As I work, I experience the forms of painting and sculpture together, changing the order of woods or the position of the canvas up and down according to the pictorial space, or putting them back in place. It’s a completely different form of working with canvas and it’s one of the different experiences I’ve found within this practice from traditional canvas works.

Sangho Han

KATE GREENBERG
The Big Forest – V.1 – Memory Resonance, 2024
Site specific
(8) 12″ diameter paintings

Our core memories are those that help composite our self-identity. They are often not of one instance in time, but a complex collection of moments that are further enhanced by emotions, learned knowledge and experience, which hold deep significance in the development of how we became our current self. They have been consolidated into the pearls we keep treasured within, have significant emotional value with each recall, and an enormous potential impact by their loss. What if you could externalize your expression of a precious core memory for safekeeping?

The Big Forest is a project in development that explores core memory, dementia, and ambiguous loss.
In V.1 – Memory Resonance, memories are used to create cymatic paintings through the amplification of audio recordings. Mimicking engram imprinting within the brain during memory consolidation, these memories are recalled, recorded, and imprinted for their safekeeping.

Kate Greenberg

LAUREN GRUDZIEN
a goodbye kiss, 2024
Digital photograph printed on metallic paper
28 x 22 in

 

 

 

 

In ‘A Goodbye Kiss,’ I endeavor to capture the essence of transition and self-discovery. This photograph serves as a reflection of the universal experience of bidding a poignant farewell to old habits and embracing the intricate realities of life. As the coolness of youth fades and cultural relevance shifts, we are presented with the opportunity for rebirth and responsibilities. We are confronted with the relentless march of time and the arrival of newer generations, a stark reminder of our mortality.
The allure of youth fades, and cultural relevance shifts, but within this transition lies the opportunity for self-awareness and liberating ourselves. We must let go of the illusions of who we aspired to be and embrace our authenticity.

“A Goodbye Kiss” reminds us that life lets go of fantasies and creates our reality. It uses a pool to symbolize sadness and rebirth, a baptism of finally reaching adulthood. It’s never too late. The image is letting go of past triggers and stepping into the present moment. This is the last image that I will center myself in my art practice. Moving forward, I want to challenge myself to work collectively.

Lauren Grudzien

KIWOUN SHIN
Good morning, Good Afternoon, Good evening and Good Night _ 1324A, 2024
5 min video with a piano music

 

 

 

 

SHIN Kiwoun Shin (b.1976, Korea) moved to Seoul in 1980.

He graduated from Seoul National University and graduated BA and MA sculpture course. He was also graduated at Goldsmiths Collage at 2010. Since 2000, he joined group exhibitions and [Theirplace Group] as this was an important group for him to show his works. From 2005 to 2007 he was graduated from two main culture services Seoul Culture Foundation and Art Council Korea. He joined the Chang dong National residency program in 2005. His most recent residency program was at The Guest House in Cork, Ireland, Raumas in Rauma, Finland and award Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2010, UK. Kiwoun won a fine arts competition in Korea, called the JoongAng Fine Arts Prize in 2007.

Kiwoun featured his video art works internationally in several group exhibitions and three solo shows in Korea, USA, and Norway in 2013: Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, Good Night (2013); SPACE: Willing N Dealing, Seoul (2013); Between Real and Reality, Babel, Trondheim, Norway (2013) and e.g.: Shin Kiwoun, Museum of Art in Brigham Young University, USA (2012).

MELISSA SCLAFANI
surrender, 2024
Video and embroidered white surrender flags.
Various sizes

 

 

 

Melissa Sclafani is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Gallery Director at Fort Lewis College in Durango CO. She received her BFA in sculpture from SUNY New Paltz in 2009 and her MFA in Sculpture and Post-Studio Practices from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2018.

Her work manifests in sculpture, installation, and performance often integrating all three together. She uses her background in traditional sculpture techniques, journalism, and gender studies to generate a relationship between labor intensive process, interaction, and social constructions. She is interested in creating work that sparks conversation, getting herself and the viewer to think more, talk more, work together, and hopefully, do more. She has participated in residencies and exhibitions across the country including NURTUREArt in Brooklyn, NY; Museum of Boulder in Boulder CO; Wayfarers in Brooklyn, NY; Franconia Sculpture Park in Franconia, MN; Salem Art Works in Salem, NY; The Contemporary Artist Center in Troy, NY; Elsewhere Studios in Paonia, CO; and MoMAZoZo in Carrizozo, NM.


VANESSA LAM
It Can Happen With So Little, 2024
Acrylic, acrylic paint skin and paper on linen
24 x 30 in

 

 

 

 

My work begins with an emotional release. Through abstract painting, sculpture and collage, I translate emotions into colour, form and movement. The work demands an openness to new sensations and feelings. Painting with force and power, I combine loose gestures, splatters and organic forms with hard-edged shapes. My process of shape-making in collage informs my painting. My work embodies a sense of rawness and inhibition that is guided by experimentation, chance and control.My explorations respond to my interest in emotional intelligence and mental health. As a child, I learned that emotional restraint was culturally preferable over expressiveness. In recent years I realized that my family of origin withheld difficult experiences and emotions to endure the challenges of being a new immigrant. Emotional suppression became an act of survival but it left an absence of connection. I longed for a different narrative –to construct a space for expressive freedom. My painting process of removing and layering gestural marks became a journey to devise a new vocabulary for expression. I use abstraction as a form of disruption. I am reshaping the fragmented history I carry within my body through cutting and manipulating materials. The intention of my work is to be a passage for viewers to move through a range of emotions. No feeling is final.
Vanessa Lam

AMY DEAL
Forest Bathing in Brooklyn, 2024
Acrylic, paper, pencil, and
color stick on wood panel
3 (16 x 22) in

Amy Deal (b. 1966 Cranberry Prairie, OH)

As an artist, I find profound renewal and inspiration in the act of painting. Through my work, I aim to capture the essence of nature’s energy, and I do so by crafting abstract natural art that is both vibrant and full of life. Nature has always been a boundless source of inspiration for me. Its ever-changing landscapes, the dance of light and shadow, and the intricate interplay of elements have always fascinated my creative spirit. In my art, I strive to translate these experiences into colorful, abstract compositions that evoke the same sense of wonder and vitality that I feel when immersed in the natural world.

Amy Deal

ESTHER BONDER
Bubbles, 2024
Metallic mesh and painted with automotive paint
60 x 60 x 60 in

 

 

Esther Bonder (1963, Rio de Janeiro, BR)

My work is made after the way nature affects and surprises me. This work was conceived after a trip to Antartica and represent the sound that the ancient air bubbles make when living the ice.

Esther Bonder

JAY LEE
What I eat, what I see, what I touch, 2024
Found objects and Handmade Bioplastic made of gelatin, tapioca starch, and methylcellulose in a mix of egg shell, tomato vine, garlic peel, onion peel,mandarin peel
Various sizes (19.7 x 31.5 inch for glass panel)

 

 

A Mother, a Nomad, an Explorer of Memories and Dreams

Jay Lee‘s art transcends the traditional boundaries of medium and geography, blending the essence of nomadism with a profound exploration of reflective and prospective nostalgia. Rooted in the transformative experiences of early motherhood and a bold step away from conventional norms, her journey unfolds across diverse landscapes—from the vibrant streets of Seoul to the serene expanses of the US, Canada, Mexico, Germany, and soon extending to Denmark, Turkey, and the UK. Through her work, Jay harmonizes the dynamism of city life with the peace of natural landscapes, employing a diverse array of materials to explore the intertwined narratives of personal transformation and the fluid mosaic of identity.

Her pieces are collaborative journeys that bridge memory and possibility, embracing life’s contrasts and the passage of time. Each creation serves as a portal into her world, inviting participants to embark on a voyage that delves into the inner terrains of belonging, identity, and the quest for a home that transcends mere geography. These materials, which change and mature over time, continuously remind us of our transient existence and inspire a deep appreciation for the present moments of life. In her universe, art is not just an expression but a pivotal force for change, reflection, and connection, celebrating the boundless capacity of the human spirit to adapt, grow, and dream.

FORREST WILSON
Wishing well, 2024
Watercolor and oil pastel on textured paper.
9 x 12 in (without frame)

 

I utilize fantastical imagery, inspired by a range of influences like mythical Renaissance
and Mannerist paintings, animated films from my youth, and modern video game protagonists, as the embodiment of my existential experiences and emotional states. The art of fantasy has always proved me an imaginative landscape through which I can see new ways of being and feeling that have shaped my identity. I grew up in the Southern, US foster care system which relies on conservative, Christian-oriented homes to raise abandoned and abused children. As a queer youth dealing with the loss of the family I was born into, this system, although it did house me and provide for me, did so while reinforcing psychologically traumatic doctrine. I see my work as a way of navigating both my need to feel empowered and my need to express pain as a queer soul in a world of vibrant, unseen forces. The characters in my work are often self- inserts through which I can communicate secret feelings too intimate or abject to express in means other than the fantastical. Much of my current work explores the longing for “completeness” and moments of magical transformation.

– Forrest Wilson

FORREST WILSON
Healing, 2024
Watercolor and oil pastel on textured paper.
12 x 9 in (without frame)

 

This was one of the first pieces I made as an artist in residence with UA gallery. Unicorns and the act of self care were on my mind. Classically, unicorns have been thought to have incredible powers to heal and so I wanted to depict one using its power to reinvigorate itself after being unsuccessfully hunted. In this way, the unicorn embodies the strength to recover from any harm that does not kill it. A spirit of resilience exemplifying the need to go on and witness a hopefully brighter new dawn.

Forrest Wilson

BORJA COLOM
Lonely streets series, 2024
Acrylic on canvas
11 x 14 in (Each one)

 

Based on a simplified perspective of reality and treating color as a fundamental element of composition, the “Arquitectura Liquida” collection aims to transform the canvas into a window, not only interacting with the viewer of the artwork but also with the surrounding space.

This bridge between the real and pictorial space focuses on
two primary elements: water and light, which provide life and
movement in contrast to static architecture. The tension
developed by the rigidness of the architecture melts in it ́s own reflection. Each of the works comprising this collection offers the viewer an escape, a concealed passage. The space
presents itself as a transitory space governed by each of us. A threshold towards imagination where unknown spaces stay
hidden behind each door and path. It is not about the space
you see but rather the one it makes you imagine.

Borja Colom

LUANA SEU
AMOR FATI, 2024
Digital photograph
16 x 24 in

 

“Amore Fati” reveals a narrative visual story in a meticulously crafted sand room studio, illuminated by the soft glow of daylight. This project uses the raw beauty of the desert reveal elements of mysticism, light and utopia with the context.

The subjects represent how I believe artists are seen in the society. The misfits. The ones that have a constant desire to fight against the current of the world. Staying together is the only way they can survive. We will survive. The essence of community is the greatest power and artists have always find a way to rise above the skies by diving into the world they built from scratch. A world made of fantasy, dreams and sweat. All the subjects are part of the performing world. From dancers to actors, multimedia artists to choreographers. The space hosted the vibrant energy of a collaborative creation under the careful guidance of the photographer.

Luana Seu