Mary Behrens, Jay Critchley, Peik Larsen and Sarah Lutz
@ DNA Gallery, 288 Bradford St (at tennis club), Provincetown, MA
July 23 – August 11th, 2010; 7:00-10:00 pm
DNA Gallery presents its first featured show of the 2010 season, grouping four artists who happen to share a remarkable poetic and political sensibility, which arguably is unmatched among New England-based artists working today.
Jay Critchley explores the underside of gay Provincetown (and global) life and ritual in his new series “Maskuerade Ball Project” subtitled “Insurgent Bodies” – deft photographic portraits and sculpture delving into identity and anonymity, sadomasochism and desire. This exhibition coincides with a “Maskuerade” theme party at P’town’s A-House on opening night. Critchley is renowned equally as a political activist and artist, working in the area for thirty years. He Recently traveled with projects to Buenos Aires and Bogota, and most recently finished a residency in Oregon where he debuted this new installation . Other projects featured @ DNA and in Provincetown in the past have included: The Old Glory Condom Corp, The Blessed Virgin Rubber Goddess, and the International Re-Rooters Society. Critchley is the founder of the long-running Aids and community benefit Swim For Llfe; he has produced and directed the award-winning indy film “Toilet Treatments”; created the Septic Theatre; and last year’s big Tent for Obama @ DNA. His wicked sense of humor, irony and ebullient spirit make him an artist one must constantly and certainly watch – so expect the unexpected. Next winter Jay will be featuring a new installation at Freight+Volume, DNA’s sister gallery in NYC.
Mary Behrens, an original long-standing DNA artist returning to the fold this summer, presents a group of acrylic paintings on archival paper entitled “Jackie’s Suit and other Memories”, continuing the strong personal and political themes of her earlier photographic-based work and using a range of art historical, as well as pop culture images. The new series incorporates pictures from the fateful day in 1963 when JFK and Jackie disembarked from Air Force One at Love Field in Dallas, en route to Dealy Plaza. Behrens says of her work: ”While I use photo images as a base, I consider myself a mixed media painter. As source material for these paintings, I use photographs from the public domain—some well known, others obscure. While respecting the image’s original context, I am also claiming it as personal. I am interested in disorienting a viewer; not for its own sake, but rather as a means to refresh memory, whether historical, cultural, or even personal. I like how the indefinite marks, and the labor of my painting, offset the mechanical and traditional aspects of making a photograph. I am interested in the idea of creating a kind of hand-crafted screen through which to look into a (often historically resonant) photograph.” Now based in York, Maine, Behrens divides her time between the studio and her marriage in Canada; this “dual citizenship” manifests itself in many strong and striking ways. Her color sense is sublime, albeit mysterious; her polychromed studies of family and memory, nostalgia and loss, are haunting indeed. A former Fine Arts Work Center fellow, Behrens has won many awards and residencies both in the US and abroad.
Peik Larsen, currently on the faculty at Provincetown’s Fine Arts Work Center, and a former adjunct professor for of printmaking for over 20 years at Harvard University, is one of the pre-eminent landscape painters and printmakers in the country. In addition to over 15 years of exhibiting at DNA, Peik has featured his monotypes and elegant artist books (including the Tuscan Sketchbook, Sanctuary, Shades of Home, Landscape and other collaborations with the preeminent poet Samina Querashi) at F+V in NY, and numerous art fairs around the world. He is also the recipient of multiple international awards and residencies. His newest series of monotypes continues his exploration of the Banyan tree, it’s fluidity and ability to be lyrically conveyed through the media of watercolor and etching. Larsen began this exploration in 2003 with a series of etchings for the artist’s book, Sanctuary. He writes,”The many-sided layers in these current pieces reference the compression of many related pages in that book. Banyans are large, sprawling trees, which sometimes cover up to two acres of land with their extensive branching and above ground root systems. Walking through these trees is like navigating a massive underwater reef. The iconography of elements such as tree or water remain as important as the qualities of space, light and energy. The transparencies enable the necessary shift between figurative and abstract narrative.”
Finally, Sarah Lutz, fresh on the heels of her highly-lauded solo exhibition in Chelsea, NY this past spring, presents a dazzling series of lush new abstract paintings, as well as a new portfolio of powerful monotypes which she produced in Brooklyn, NY with master printer Marina Ancona, of Ten Grand Press. Lohin-Geduld Gallery in NYC states: “Lutz is an artist who thoroughly enjoys the visceral pleasures of oil painting. Her…colorful surfaces ooze with rich impasto and translucent shimmering glazes. The sensuality of Lutz’s paint handling puts the viewer in a subjective and participatory position by creating a cornucopia of physical and mental sensations. What is seen during this synesthetic experience is a phantasmagoria of squiggles, pile-ups, blobs and drips that suggest a primordial hothouse where all manner of cross-pollinations occur. Lutz has cited sources ranging from Venetian chandeliers to the experience of snorkeling as part of her studio discourse, and one can sense the thrill of discovery as she ventures through these opulent and animated realms”. Lutz divides her time between NYC’s West Village and Truro, painting and raising two wonderful daughters with her husband John also an artist. She has exhibited in Connecticut, NYC, and for many years at DNA. Her virtuosity in paint is no secret to the cognoscenti of the Provincetown and NY art scenes.
Please join us on Friday, July 23 from 7-10 pm, to celebrate these four astonishing and talented artists under one roof. Refreshments, friends and artists will be flowing in abundance. For further information and images from this show, please contact Nick Lawrence or Eric Webster by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone @ 508-487-7700. See you all soon!